By: Ben Snyder
And just like that Beautiful Canvas is finished with a spectacular fourth and final installment. Ryan K. Lindsay has crafted a thrilling and personal story placed in the center of a chaotic universe, and leaves us with just as many questions as when we started. As the series has continued, in all my reviews I asked for some answers to the numerous questions Lindsay brought up in each issue; and now that the series is over, I feel relieved he chose not to answer most of them.
Beautiful Canvas #4 sees Lon and Eric attempt to track down Milla who has captured Asia and Alex. One of my major complaints for this series has been how uninteresting and vague the main antagonist Milla has been. We understand she views chaos as the highest form of art especially when it involves the deaths of innocent humans, but that’s really all the motivation behind her actions. She sees the planet/society as her canvas whereas Lon and Asia view their unborn child as their canvas, so in that way she acts as a foil to them, but besides that I didn’t really find her that consistent or necessary.
I think Lindsay could have created a more interesting and complex villain for this series as making her seem like a sociopathic Joker-esque villain seems like a copout. I also found her pleading for her life to Lon totally unbelievable. The way Milla has been written so far, I feel like she would have expected this outcome if not welcomed it. Also, having the swords in her throne seemed really unnecessary, as she never picked one out to defend herself with.
I also found Eric to be slightly cumbersome to the plot, as he mainly seemed as a super-powered vehicle to show Milla’s depths of exploitation and combat help for Lon. He was definitely a necessary ingredient; I just wish we got more of him.
But I am fine with these issues, because Beautiful Canvas was truly only ever about Lon dealing with past trauma in order to move on with her life with Asia and their unborn child. My favorite part of this series so far was how they made Lon a beautifully realistic character, but perhaps the biggest character development in this finale was Asia’s decision between saving Alex and restraining Eric. It showed that she was willing to make the hard decisions despite her naturally motherly instincts and I really liked it. This is the definition of a power couple and seeing them get their happy ending of Asia doing yoga and Lon scaring away Bear-Man hybrids felt particularly earned and kick-ass.
Sami Kivela’s art has continually been a strongpoint for the series, especially when there have been major action scenes. We are treated to one this issue in which Eric and Lon take down a helicopter of Wolf-Man soldiers and seeing them systematically take them down looked especially brutal. The way Kivela arranges the panels makes the fight seem almost like the fight scenes in the recent Sherlock Holmes films in which Sherlock breaks down what he’ll do before the fight even begins. It goes to show just how combat savvy these characters truly are.
Ryan K. Lindsay and Sami Kivela have created such an interesting and personal story set in the chaos of a bustling world that deserves to be more fully discovered. A part of me was disappointed in the final pages in which Lindsay said he doesn’t plan on returning to Lon’s story any time soon. However, I also believe there’s merit and virtue to leaving this story where it ended; with both of these lover’s ready to take on a whole new adventure with their past ghosts watching over them.
Beautiful Canvas #4
Black Mask Studios