[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Mack, Michael Avon Oeming
Colors: David Mack, Zu Orzu
This month Max continues to be beaten by another comic artist for what feels like the third straight month this scene has been stretched out for. Although victory is on the horizon as he ‘escapes’ and gets to attend the comic convention that served as his cover from the beginning.
Brian Michael Bendis, despite his faults, is a great writer and within this issue he shows it. There’s a great sequence at the beginning of the issue where Max talks to his torturer as a means of reasoning with him. When that doesn’t work he realizes something, they both idolize Jack Kirby. The villain boasts about how he throws punches like The King did but Max has to point out that Kirby punched Nazis, not kidnapped comic artists. Through the writing alone readers can see how this affected the torturer and it proves to be a really good sequence.
Similar to the other issues David Mack’s artwork is the selling point of the book. Each sequence gets its own distinct style including a new style for this issue. It adds the much needed variety to the book. This issue even gets a little surprise artwork from Michael Avon Oeming. The artwork would be anyone’s reason to buy these books at this stage. The negatives will cover the issues in more depth but this is readers four issues in now and it feels like six issues. But with the artwork there is at least something for readers to enjoy.
It’s not the point of a review to spiral into a rant but Bendis is really making it more challenging not to each month. Beyond the clever Jack Kirby section, this is a slow book. The opening paragraph mentions how Max’s interrogation/ torture scene has felt like it’s been going on for months but it has. Obviously Bendis knows Mack’s skills and writes a script that allows him the creative freedom to play around with the pages. But it means that extended sequences are incredibly boring.
For example, this issue has a great watercolor painted section, but to account for the time taken to create that, Bendis scripted a number of dialogue sequences that reuse panels multiple times. Stylistically there isn’t anything there for readers to latch on to.
Cover is becoming increasingly harder to review as less and less content is in each issue. Genuinely, apologize for minor spoilers but there are three scenes in this issue with an additional two if you consider the ‘comic within a comic’ sections that so far haven’t played into the main plot beyond a couple of quips from characters.
With art as incredible as David Mack’s it’s difficult to not recommend Cover but with a plot so slow and dialogue so ubiquitous, literally any line could be said by any character and it probably wouldn’t change anything tonally; Cover #4 is a comic for the die hard Bendis and Mack fans or people who want a spectacularly pretty comic to show their friends.