Old Wounds #4
I don’t want to say too much about Old Wounds #4, written by Russell Lissau and drawn by John Bivens, since it concludes the mystery set up at the beginning of the miniseries. The killer was revealed at the end of issue #3, but this one is the important one, the part that tells us why the murders happened.
In case you don’t want to visit that link to my review of the previous issues, the setup is this: Michael Lane used to be a superhero, until an explosion 30 years ago damaged his leg and ended his hero career. His pain also wrecked his marriage. His ex-wife was the first victim, killed in a bombing. While investigating, Detective Alyssa Hess has taken him into protective custody, but their location has been invaded by the murderer.
Who did it isn’t as important as why. We’ve known all along that it had to be someone from his past, but the actual motive, to understand why someone would hold a grudge that went back that far, is the more significant revelation. It’s a good reminder that sometimes the simplest answer is the accurate one, and that it can be a challenge to write powerful endings.
In an odd but effective choice, most of this issue is an action sequence, as the protagonists struggle to defeat the villain. Many series start with visually expressive images, to catch the reader’s eye and draw them in, but this one started with a gripping premise told mostly through dialogue, leading up to the punch-out. On the one hand, that makes this issue a faster read than some of the others, but it also means the writer and artist have gotten more skilled at working with each other by this point.
There’s something of an unanswered question about what happens to one of the characters (or maybe it’s just my denial of a plot choice I don’t care for). If it is intended the reader should take the negative interpretation, I will be very disappointed to see another sacrifice of that type of character.
You can get Old Wounds #4 from publisher Pop! Goes the Icon or digitally at ComiXology. Or at this point, you may want to consider the collected edition, due out November 18 and available to order at your local comic shop until September 18. It will have 20 pages of bonus material, which includes “a reprinting of detectives Hess and King’s first appearance in Lissau and Bivens’ ‘One of Us’, which previously appeared in the indie anthology series Omega Comics Presents. The paperback will also feature a look into the collaborative process between the creators, as well as a brand-new cover by Bivens.” (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)