Review – Protector #4 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writers: Simon Roy, Daniel Bensen
Artwork: Artyom Trakhanov
Colours: Jason Wordie
Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Release Date: 1st July 2020

After the revelation that the First Knife brandishes a blade with the same NATO emblem as on the pauldron of the newly titled Slayer of Devas, Hesukristos, the journey to the pit is well underway. We also have to contend with the fact that Mari has been chosen as a herald and commands the grudging deference of First Knife; or so we think. With chatter of an attack from the Hudsoni, let alone the potential for appearances of more Deva, this will definitely not be an easy walk…

If you managed to follow any of my previous paragraph then you’re probably already one of the converted. For everyone else, please don’t let these confusing names and terms put you off. This is storytelling in the grand sense of the word. Broad, sweeping themes, humour, brutal action and a captivating world.

Whilst post-apocalyptic settings have been explored for decades, with everything from dark and gritty realism to gonzo mania, there’s always room for more on the comic shelves in my opinion. The creative team here have played up to some well-worn tropes, but this is anything but stale. We have the classic ‘not-quite-right’ names like Skikka-Go or Sentta-Lu (the arch is a giveaway) as well as tribal conflicts, slavery, and new religions. The world building alone gets a big thumbs up from me. I’m always a fan of getting to see little details and touches in the panels, but to get a treat at the end of each issue in anthropological prose or poetry is truly superb. There’s no real safety net gently lowering you in here, but by the start of this issue I was loving all of this strange, slightly familiar oddness.

Trakhanov and Wordie manage to craft imagery that manages to be both manic and precise. I fully suspect that for some this style may take more than a little getting used to; if indeed they ever do. There’s an almost ‘comic’ element to the peoples that populate this new world which does feel a little at odds with the corpse-eating biomechanical warrior. The posing and use of hatching strongly reminds me of many a manga, and the subject matter wouldn’t be out of place in the medium. Layered on top we also have Otsmane-Elhaou’s letters which simply invaluable in helping us to differentiate the voices we hear.

Building up to the fifth and final issue, I’m a little saddened that this might be the end of the road. In a roundabout way, I’m glad that I got onboard with this one late, as I think it would have been hard to keep track waiting between issues. This issue in particular gets a bit frenetic, but no spoilers. Definitely worth binging.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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