Days Missing, Vol. 2: Kestus
Written by Phil Hester
Illustrated by David Marquez
Cover by Alex Ross
Archaia Black Label in association with Roddenberry Productions
Release date: August 2, 2011
As a life-long fan of science fiction, one thing I’ve gotten used to is questions without answers. Whether in comics, television, or film series, the best sci-fi makes you think as much as it entertains, but can often belabor ideas to the point of exhaustion and frustration. With Roddenberry and Archaia’s Days Missing, you won’t find such unsatisfying storytelling. Each issue provides questions as well as answers, but leads the reader along just enough to keep you hungry for more. I felt this way before I read Days Missing: Volume Two: Kestus, and I feel the same way now.
Days Missing is a sprawling sci-fi epic that reveals as much of human history as it teaches. The series follows the life of The Steward, a being of unknown origin who has watched over Earth from the beginning of time. He longs for the greatness humanity can achieve, hoping that one day they will become his equal. To ensure their ongoing development, The Steward has helped mankind navigate catastrophes throughout history. Rather than fight their battles for them, he gives them the tools necessary for their success and folds the day around them, removing himself from the struggle. Those left behind do not remember The Steward himself, but they retain the ideas he has implanted.
In Days Missing: Kestus, we get to know the mysterious being Kestus. She is similar to The Steward in her longevity, but without his ability to fold days. Also, she does not regard humanity with the same affection as The Steward. Convinced of their inability to change from savages, Kestus often steers humanity’s development down a path of destruction.
The Steward has fought both against and alongside Kestus for an eternity. Though they’re fight is for mankind outwardly, they each struggle with a sense of personal disappointment. They have each lived lifetimes believing their existence to be unparalleled. When they finally find each other, their hopes of a partnership are dashed by contrasting ideals. Their lives will be forever intertwined, but not in the ways they had hoped for. This constant back and forth builds emotional tension all the way through til issue five’s devastating climax.
Writer Phil Hester‘s narrative takes the reader on an emotional journey with our protagonists, no easy feat considering their relationship is woven throughout millenia and peppered by different cultures. Though the series is action-packed, it’s Hester’s characterization of both The Steward and Kestus that give the book its re-read potential. Hester’s story is brought to vivid life by David Marquez‘ art. Marquez is expertly talented at conveying the emotions felt in each panel, particularly when it comes to The Steward. His eyes may lack both pupils and color, but they are no less a window to his feelings in any given situation.
The hardcover edition is beautifully bound and features cover artwork by the great Alex Ross. His cover was my favorite of the series, and is certainly worthy of introducing readers to the lives of Kestus and The Steward. Included in the edition is a compellingly personal and well written forward by actor Wil Wheaton, as well as an afterward by series Executive Editor/Creator Trevor Roth. Accompanying these pieces is a character retrospect on creating Kestus, as well as “First Fold,” a short story that explains how the Steward discovers who he really is.
Days Missing: Kestus is sci-fi storytelling at its best. Answers sought since the first volume are provided, yet the door is left open for more intrigue. I loved each issue of this series, and couldn’t wait for the hardcover. If you haven’t been reading the series, head down to your local comic shop to pick it up!