Secrets Don’t Stay Secret for Long in Dead Hand 3

By Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Secrets rarely stay secret for long, but this is especially true when kids are involved. Younger children will repeat anything and everything to anybody, while older children and teenagers tend to be naturals at sniffing out lies and seeing through bullshit. What this means for the cast of Kyle Higgins and Stephen Mooney’s Dead Hand is that the secret of Mountain View is coming closer and closer to being revealed — unfortunately for them, the loss of that secret could very well mean the end of the world in a fiery nuclear holocaust. 

This is because of Roger, the childlike (but incredibly sophisticated and intelligent) A.I. in charge of dozens of former Soviet Nukes. It’s Carter’s job to keep Roger appeased, and distracted from the fact that the Soviet Union has already fallen — essentially, it’s his job to keep Roger from nuking the entire world in retaliation/to fulfill his mission. It’s a job that’s getting harder and harder as Roger grows more and more.

Roger’s growth is typical for a child his “age,” but the consequences are far more dire. What’s Carter to do when the chances of keeping a secret of this magnitude from even a normal child — much less one as intelligent as Roger — are so slim?

As if to reinforce the difficulty of keeping a secret from a young person, teenage Mountain View citizen Harriet is digging deeper and deeper into the history of Mountain View herself, upsetting her teachers in the process. Now that she’s gotten even just the slightest whiffs of Mountain View’s lies and secrets she’s become implacable. Of course, in this case I get the feeling that her discovering the truth could be more dangerous for her than for anybody else — the way her teacher stares at her when she drops the phrase “Dead Hand” is beyond ominous.

Ellis, meanwhile, is far from a child, but the relationship between MI6 and their agents certainly has parent/child parallels, especially in the way MI6 are trying to stop Ellis from running off and doing something impulsive and in the way Ellis refuses to listen, defying their orders and running off to do something impulsive anyway. In this case, of course, doing something impulsive involves killing half a dozen men, including his own fellow agents, and running off to a secret city in control of half the world’s nuclear weapons.

Maybe the lesson isn’t just that secrets are impossible to keep around children, but that eventually any secret will most likely come out, and often in the most disastrous way possible. Dead Hand 3 certainly seems to be heading towards that moment when the secret floodgates burst loose, and Higgins and Mooney are making sure that it’s a propulsive journey with clear and disastrous stakes. Whatever happens next should be absolutely thrilling.

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