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In the third installment of the official Diablo III comic book, our mopey hero returns home seeking the punishment he has been craving since the first issue.
The issue begins on a cool note, as a band of Khazra goat demons argue with the thugs who are pursuing Jacob. In a truly creepy moment, the thugs’ leader, Ivan, starts bleeding from his facial orifices as he strikes a bargain with the demons.
It soon becomes apparent that Ivan is possessed by a sinister force—a force that offers to make the Khazra great again if only they will reveal Jacob’s location. The Khazra spend about five seconds contemplating the offer before declaring that Jacob and his wizard friend, Shanar, are hiding beneath them.
Thankfully for Jacob, Shanar has some more nifty wizard tricks up her sleeve, and she deploys several new in-game spells, including Mirror Image and Electrocute. Meanwhile, Jacob engages in some expository combat with Ivan that reveals that the madness affecting Jacob’s people is apparently spread by blood.
A well-placed lightning bolt from Shanar knocks Ivan to the ground, which gives Jacob an excellent opportunity to rid himself of the madman who has been pursuing him for the past three issues. Common sense suggests that it might be a good idea for him to use his flashy magic sword to lop off Ivan’s head. Sadly, common sense is not Jacob’s strong suit.
Instead of killing Ivan, he uses his sword to carve glyphs into his chest. Shanar is naturally confused, and Jacob explains that he will return to his home city of Staalbreak with Ivan and the other thugs so that he can face justice for killing his father.
The problem is, Jacob’s plan is epically stupid. I understand that he feels guilty about killing his father (he has, after all, been moaning about that since the first issue), but the idea that he will find justice back home is just laughable.
He knows his people are suffering from an insanity-inducing plague of unknown, but undoubtedly sinister, origin, yet he is willing to let them sit in judgment of him. That is not nobility. That is not ‘doing the right thing.’ It is a logic fail of titanic proportions, and Jacob richly deserves the slap that Shanar administers to try to jolt some sense into him.
Naturally, things go to Hell as soon as Jacob returns home. The townspeople start to stone him as soon as he enters the city. He is dragged before the constable (who has the face of a demonic Kewpie doll) and is cheerfully informed that there will be no trial. Jacob was found guilty as soon as he fled the city. Jacob begs for a chance to address the people, and the constable agrees, provided Jacob surrenders his super powerful magic sword.
Because Jacob has all the common sense of a head of cabbage, he agrees to this proposal and is promptly hung from a gibbet by his wrists. The townspeople start stoning him again, and they refuse to listen to his attempts to warn them about the plague. He spends an entire night hanging from the gibbet before Shanar saves his sorry butt once again.
Throughout the issue, readers have cause to question Jacob’s intelligence. If he did not know about the blood plague, then his decision to return home to face justice would seem noble, but he knows something is rotten in Staalbreak. He watched his father go crazy. He saw Ivan and his minions eat a boar while it was still alive.
Heck, he even heard Ivan speaking in the voice of a demon! All these things suggest that Jacob’s countrymen are under the influence of something nasty, but he seems oblivious to the danger he faces. He apparently believed that all he had to do was address the people, and they would realize that something evil was afoot. Calling him naïve would be the understatement of the year.
This is the second time Jacob’s masochistic guilt has gotten him into a dicey situation from which Shanar has had to rescue him. We can only hope he has finally learned his lesson.