Dual Review: Book of Death #4

Well kids, we’ve reached the end. This is the final review for the final issue of Book of Death. Valiant’s latest summer event. As always, the two writers (David and Dustin) will give their score, followed by their thoughts on the issue. Now, let’s get started!

DAVID: 3/5

This week sees the conclusion to Valiant’s Book of Death, an issue I was looking to with some apprehension. The third instalment in this series was somewhat weak consisting primarily of a fight scene which made the whole thing feel like filler. This issue I’m relieved to say is much stronger; the plot is once again made top priority as all threads are brought together to forge as satisfying a conclusion as possible. Indeed, while this issue does end the event on a good note overall, I did feel the final confrontation between Tama and Master Darque was a little anticlimactic. This fight has after all been built up to for the last four months, but in the end Darque didn’t seem to pose much of a challenge. Additionally, this story seems to have the most extreme consequences for the Eternal Warrior, but the announcement of a new ongoing series for the character suggests said consequences aren’t to be long-lasting. Also, I still have some problems with Robert Gill’s artwork, and I feel like I would have preferred to see this book put in the hands of a more established artist. Don’t get me wrong, Gill definitely has talent – I just feel like he could use some time to hone his craft.

All this would give you the impression that I wasn’t a big fan of this issue, but that actually isn’t the case. I found this finale to be quite entertaining with some good dialogue, and some great characterisation of antagonist Darque. Plus, without spoiling anything, the rather brutal way in which Tama’s battle with Master Darque ends was strangely satisfying I have to say. Ultimately, Book of Death was a slightly disappointing event and is definitely inferior to the stunning Armor Hunters series of 2014. Nonetheless, the series is definitely worth reading if you’re a Valiant fan and is still miles ahead of numerous event books from the big two.

Book of Death #4DUSTIN: 3/5

This isn’t a terrible issue and it hasn’t been a terrible event, but I still don’t think it’s been much of an event. Sure the landscape changed a lot, but I think the buildup and the title leave it feeling a bit average rather than something special. Now, I will say that after reading this issue and then reading an advanced issue of Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1, that Wrath becomes a much better issue.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like how Darque was defeated. It was fitting, but then also left Darque available for more villainy in the future. Because that’s the big thing, he’s supposed to be a “Big Bad”, but he’s yet to get to that level which has left his involvement in this series feeling weak. The other thing was the arrival of Unity and the rest of the Valiant U. players. It seemed really unnecessary and I’m not particularly a big fan of heroes arriving at the end of the battle to figure out that they were wrong about the guy they were trying to pointlessly stop. Not my favorite plot device. The art was great as usual.

All in all, this is just an okay issue which is kind of disappointing because there are monthly issues from Valiant that are way better than anything this series has provided.

Book of Death #4 Writer: Robert Venditti Artists: Robert Gill with Doug Braithwaite Publishers: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/28/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital