I almost didn’t want to read this issue. No, it’s not because I don’t like this miniseries; quite the opposite. However, with all of the amazing buildup during the past three issues, I had no clue how Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Paolo Rivera would wrap up this epic battle between good and evil. Still, it was hard to contain my excitement as I cracked open the pages of the final installment of The Valiant.
The final melee for the fate of Geomancer Kay McHenry commences. While Bloodshot battles against the monstrous Mr. Flay, Neville Alcott and company attempt to crack open the mysterious box recovered during Bloodshot’s covert mission. In the far flung future, the battle between Gilad and the Immortal Enemy rages on, unhalted by the events of the present. Yet the contents of the box may offer a final hope to defeat this horrid monstrosity, and return the Earth to an age of peace.
Writing duo Kindt and Lemire close out this final chapter of the prestige series in a manner befitting the Valiant Universe. The ending lacks a true resolution, which is somewhat irksome, but is more realistic; what story truly ends? How does one judge victory or defeat? These are lingering questions I pondered as I closed this comic.
The character work continues to be a high point in this installment. Without question, this issue contained the single best portrayal of Bloodshot thus far, which increases my excitement for next month’s Bloodshot Reborn #1. Everything from Flay’s disturbing dialogue, to Bloodshot’s resolve, to Kay’s inner turmoil lights up the narrative. Gripping scenes abound, and it’s difficult to divorce yourself from the narrative as you read, such is the quality of immersion.
Speaking of getting lost in the story, the Riveras (Paolo and Joe) once again provide tantalizing visuals. The Immortal Enemy continues to be the star of the show, as his myriad forms add to his disturbing nature, notably in one scene where Flay’s arm extends to snap Bloodshot’s neck. The high energy battle scenes are the best of the series yet, and watching Bloodshot and Kay struggle against their attacker added to the heightened drama.
Letterer Dave Lanphear does stellar work in this issue as well, and I was glad to see him offer commentary on his process in the back of this issue. I say it often enough to sound like a broken record, but letterers rarely get the respect they deserve. It’s clear Lanphear puts a lot of thought into his process.
Overall, The Valiant #4 exemplifies why Valiant is arguably the best publisher in comics today. It was a superb ending to a stunning series that kept me hugely invested, interested, and entertained these past four months. Though the ending didn’t wrap everything up in a neat package, it helped to lay the groundwork for the next era of the Valiant Universe. This is an amazing series, and I strongly suggest anyone and everyone check it out.
-emotionally gripping story
-unexpected, powerful conclusion
-lack of resolution
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