"Killing Machine (Part Four)"
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artists: Peter Snjeberg, Karl Story (i)
Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm
Four issues into an arc and had this been any other time, I would have been bawling out (I am man enough to admit that I "bawl") my mind, trying to climb the walls counting the days until the (by now) dragging story line would be over. Had this been any other time. By that, I mean any other writer, and after "seeing" this issue, any other artist. With the always trashing Garth Ennis on one side and the new/fill-in artist Peter Snjeberg on the other, Midnighter #4 comes across as a one-two combo, one that knocks down my lamenting to just "patiently waiting for the next issue."
Continuing on his "forced job" to kill Hitler, the now-in-the-1945 Midnighter spends this issue tracking down his quarry to, well, to kill him. Whether he fails or whether he manages to rewrite history is something that I wonít be revealing (spoiling) here, but then again even though it is the main premise of the story plot, Midnighter killing Adolf isnít exactly the big thing here. That honor goes to something more personal, something more within (and no, I am not talking about the bomb inside the M-man).
All this depth doesnít mean that Ennis doesnít let loose with his usual dry, dark and totally unrepentant brand of humor. Be it Midnighter "asking" a man before killing or him accepting a bottle of Nazi brandy from a German soldier (from a group standing around a human pyre), or whether it be the playing out of the scene depicted on the cover, it is all Ennis and only Ennis. Speaking of the kids dressed/playing soldiers, although 100% comedic in its depiction, the quartet of pre-teen "soldiers" is a not-so-subtle kick in the nuts for the propaganda machine employed by just about every form of government, all in the name of patriotism and national security.
As for artwork, I would like to thank artist Peter Snjeberg for showing me something that I did not realize that this series needed in its art. As I mentioned before, Ennis gives this series his trademark brand of dark humor, something that the Midnighter also has/needs and what Snjeberg delivers in loads.
Conclusion: With one more issue to go, I for one am looking to read what comes after that. Thanks to Ennis, Midnighter has taken off quite well but at this early juncture in the series, it is very important that both the tone and pacing (set by Ennis) be at least maintained. With a writer change scheduled with issue #7, hereís hoping that Brian K. Vaughan does so. Then again seeing BKVís track record (at least what I have read of his), I am looking forward to his take on the Midnighter, even though I will be missing Ennis.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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