This is the last we’ll actually hear from these two, and they’re the last shreds of the old Hall of Houses left to look in on—everyone else is dead, withdrawn, kicked out, or in the war room. Both of them sense the end is near for life as they know it, and probably just for their lives, period. (Miyamoto’s death will come later, as a bit of a historical footnote, but I can’t see Penk pardoning either of them, regardless. Bedard has one more, wordless, panel in a few more pages.)

There’s some grim satisfaction to be found in that, in watching secondary villains get some karmic justice. But we were more interested in showing their humanity, their more respectable aspects. For instance, Miyamoto, who’s often been an impotent racist, is here attacking fellow human Taro instead of the nonhumans nearing the gates. And he’s correct in almost everything he says. There’s still a bit of ego to him (my perfect city, my legacy), but public floggings are bad. For all the problems he turned a blind eye to, at least he knew enough to make most Gastonian citizens feel like they were in a land of opportunity, not tyranny. He even implies he admired his old rival, Iwatani Sr., for the latter’s own grasp of statecraft.

As for Bedard, he’s smart enough to see what’s coming, and he won’t run from it. He’ll spend his last hours doing what he’s loves, composing headlines that excuse current policies. He’ll never get to print those headlines, but that’s not the point. It’s all about the art of the spin. As long as he has his art, then even at the end, he’ll never be alone.

FB: “In retrospect, paying those adventurers to find and return MY offspring but also IWATANI’S child was an investment I regret.”