By: Rick Remender (writer), Matteo Scalera (art), Dean White (colors) and Rus Wooton (letters)

The Story: The protagonists try to escape from an alt-WWI while their leader is wounded.

The Review (with SPOILERS): Honestly, I don’t know what to make of this silly comic series.  The first issue was lights-out great!  The second issue was good, but concerning.  The third issue was kinda mediocre.  And, now we’re back to lights-out great.

If I had to give an opinion on this series it is that it will be somewhat inconsistent, but capable of blowing your socks off.  That alone makes it worthy.  Life is too short to even bother with comics that don’t have the potential for greatness.  That’s why I don’t usually bother with 3rd-tier Avengers books anymore: no potential for greatness.

There are a whole raft of attributes that make this a sharper issue than last:

  • WOW-level art: I took some stick last month for saying the art is issue #3 wasn’t quite as good as the previous issues.  I stand by that assessment.  This issue (like issue #1) is just loaded with images that will melt your eyes.  For me, there are two levels of good art.  One is just having the basic storytelling correct and not succumbing to weak panels.  That is a harder task that you might think with so much frenzied action – but Scalera is up to the task.  The second level is: Are there images that just have that singular quality where you go, “WOW!”?  I started to make a list of the panels that made me double-take, but it would probably be easier to list the panels that didn’t cause that reaction.  There are original pages in this issue that I want and I’m irritated that Matteo Scalera’s art rep doesn’t have them up on the site yet.  I won’t tell you which ones because I can’t take the chance that other people might buy them.  It’s inspirational art.  So, what sets this art apart?  It’s just got that little bit of extra energy to the whole sequence when Ward is fighting his way through the Techno Native Americas.  The art looks incredibly like that of Sean Murphy.  Everything is energetic, well-framed and detailed.  Then, we shift gears totally and see that Scalera can draw an incredibly soft-looking pretty woman AND imagine a world that is straight out of Star Wars.  Who knows why the art wasn’t quite to this standard in the last two issues?  Maybe Sclera had something going on in his personal life that knocked him off schedule, maybe the subject matter didn’t excite him as much…Who knows?  And who cares, because any series that can look like THIS is worth reading.
  • Shift away from Grant McKay: I have a feeling that Grant McKay is going to be the Rick Grimes of this series.  By that I mean, central character who I don’t like as much as the supporting cast. Grant McKay is dull and boring.  I don’t want to watch him.  I want to see what happens with the other characters in this comic.  So, when we have an issue where Grant barely appears, I like the story a LOT more.  I was very interested in and invested in Ward’s story in this issue – in a way that I totally was NOT interested in Grant’s story last issue.
  • New world and new possibilities: I really LIKE seeing all of these new worlds that the group is teleporting to.  I guess it is too much to hope that we’ll get a new world every issue, but I hope we keep the action moving.  Getting bogged down in one place is dangerous for a series like this because if we stayed in Alt-WWI Land, we’d have time to question the fundamentals of the world: “Wait a minute?  How did ______ happen?”
  • Wonderful art: Did I mention how lovely the art was?
  • Cool ending: Who is this Boba Fett-looking dude?  I love cliffhangers and interesting looking antagonists.  I’ll bet that we recognize this person when they take off the mask.

Conclusion: Great issue.  This series seems to be a little inconsistent, but it has the potential to hit a 10/10 issue and you can’t say that about every series.

Grade: A

-Dean Stell