[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Artist: Adriana Melo
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Welcome back to Jack Kirby’s Fourth World. Apokolips is still a pretty terrible place. Granny Goodness is not grand nor good, but she is cunning and she has a plan. Her six Furies, Big Barda, Aurelie, Mad Harriet, Lashina, Bernadeth and Stopma, have been training twice as hard and twice as long as all the men. While she keeps them working hard, Darkseid and his band of malcontents find ways to humiliate them and her.
Meanwhile, we see in flashbacks some of the other indignities Granny has suffered at the hands of Desaad and Darkseid. Considering we do not have a good opinion of Granny, this whole sections makes us see her in a whole different light.
The subheading on this book should be “TIME’S UP A-HOLES for you and your ugly male privilege.” Honestly, until this book, the Fourth World was never really my thing. I am still not sure it is my thing, but this book is brutally honest and at times uncomfortable to read and see. Why is that a positive you ask? Well, it is always good to have some reality checks placed into our comics.
In the hands of a weaker artist, some of the more uncomfortable panels would have been done with less care but Melo walks a fine line between showing us the bad ass female comic characters we want while making sure we know we are have been objectifying them all along. Facial reaction is key here. This book couldn’t really be done with actors because I am not sure they could handle all the subtly that Melo infuses in the work.
Hi-Fi is the color team here, so that is perfect for anything to do with Kirby. Mitch Gerads cover is A++. If you can walk past it on the rack and not be drawn to it, you are a stronger person than I.
The dialogue falls down in a few places. It is a minor weakness here. Castellucci has a lot to do and a big story to tell so the narrative is all that really matters. I just think that sometimes, letting the artist do her thing is the right move.
This book is going to make a big splash. The team has six issues to tell a complicated story about trying to take down Darkseid while also telling a poignant tale about how women are treated in the workplace, in the military, in everyday life and of course, in comic books. Run. Do not walk.