The comic opens with Cort on his deathbed. A group of his students have gathered around, sans Roland for being in prison. Vannay tries to be comforting, but Cort calls him on it saying that lying to a dead man reserves a spot for him in hell.
Aileen is, of course, grief stricken. Cuthbert tries to comfort her, but she just calls him a sexist. I admit that made little sense to me. Yes, she’s upset over the death of Cort, but that accusation kind of came out of nowhere.
It’s made clear that Marten is manipulating the mutants as they say that the mutants have never used poison darts before. I kind of liked the idea that they were this indifferent third party that had no stake in the brewing war between these two forces, but it makes sense in context.
Speaking of the mutants, it seems they’ve made their way into Gilead as Cuthbert and Alain come across them attacking Sheemie. The scene provides a bit of comic relief to break up the surrounding darkness and death.
A notable plot twist is Aileen pulling a Mulan and disguising herself as a boy. After being told by Cuthbert that they will get Roland out so that the two of them can get married and give birth to many strong gunslingers she says “screw it’ and cuts off her hair and puts on baggy clothes to mask her appearance. You have to wonder how long that cover is going to last, I mean Aileen suddenly disappears and this new stranger, who no one has ever seen before shows up. It doesn’t really take Batman to figure out what the situation is. We’ll see how the story pans out.
The comic ends with a mysterious messenger coming to Vannay’s door. The old “don’t shoot the messenger” situation gets flipped and Vannay even cites the line before things take a dark turn. You can tell things are only going to get worse, Marten is picking off Steven’s forces one by one and a flock of crows (aptly called a murder) tells Cuthbert and Alain that dark times are ahead.
This issue, Robin Furth writes about the state of women in both comics and Gilead. She talks about the restricted roles women have had in comics, Gilead, and real life and relates the desire to see females get the same sort of adventures that boys get. This all, of course, ties into to Aileen’s situation as she can’t become a gunslinger due to her gender.
Sketch art is also included.