Writer: Len Wein
Artists: Claude St. Aubin (p), James Taylor (i)
Publisher: Penny Farthing Press
The secrets behind Claude Ballare and what he did to his daughter’s mother stand revealed, as do much of the real identity of other characters in this series as it heads to a cataclysmic finale. As the confrontation draws closer, there’s gathering storm clouds and a tense cliffhanger meeting…
There’s been one huge advantage to this twenty-five issue maxi-series since Len Wein took on the writing chores from issue 7 or so and stuck the course – he’s had a definite goal to work towards, and was happy to spend issue upon issue slowly developing the plot, leaving tantalising threads, leaving doors open, leaving us slightly confused as to how (or even if!) he could tie this all together yet satisfied with continuing developments. Now we’re at the end of Book Four of the storyline, much stands revealed and it’s very satisfying indeed.
As for this issue in particular, once again there’s a superb recap page to get you right into the middle of the action, after which revelations and developments come thick and fast. I don’t intend to spoil the surprises, just to say Wein has a masterful grasp of dialogue and pacing. The art retains its high level of detail and gorgeous covers, and there is really very little wrong with this book bar two things. Firstly, there’s too much use of captions, telling us what people are doing or thinking or where they are, when the art either shows us this, or should show us this. Secondly, jumping aboard this book four issue from the end is not necessarily the best way to experience it – far better to kick off with the first trade and make a commitment to pick up the rest.
Having said that, as a tester issue this is well worthwhile, because the plot the developed far enough for action and developments to make sense, and when you do pick up the trades later on you’ll gain an added appreciation for what goes on.
Now that answers are coming thick and fast, the book demands a re-read of the previous issues to shed new light on prior events – what more could you ask?
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