The fourth issue of Critter really shakes the tree when it comes to the story’s progression and I have to say there were parts I didn’t like, but for the right reasons. The issue begins with Critter and the team she’s training with going over the facts of the attack from the last issue. Each of the attacks had a smaller first attack then a giant sea creature that showed up then everything seemingly went back to normal. Also Rip Tide was spotted at each of the attacks which is even more curious. Critter is reprimanded for losing her mother’s belt which becomes a running gag in the issue and adds a bit more personality to the story. Paradox becomes fixated on Critters tardiness to the battle and takes her away from the base to interrogate her further. He also scolds her for losing the belt and then sends her back to the base alone. Soon the team is involved in finding and locking up some convicts that escaped because of the attacks which leaves Critter alone to be swayed into joining a new team! That’s the part I wasn’t crazy about, but at the same time I like it because it breaks the comfort that’s been developed for Critter. Granted we’re not too far into the story so we could go several more issues before breaking that comfort level, but I’m going to trust Hutchison has bigger plans.
I will say that when it comes to the story it’s beginning to get really big, really fast. Sure some throwaway villains were introduced in this issue, but so were two more heroes and I don’t think that’s needed. Critter needs more time to develop and frankly taking her out of this already new environment for her character and the reader is a bit risky. Hopefully the story settles down and we're able to get a real feel for Critter, but I’m starting to think that Critter is just the star of this team book rather than the lead character in her own title.
The writing and art are still very good and you can check out the review for the third issue if you want to read me gushing over it again. Otherwise it’s still very good and frankly it has a really high production value for an indie book. I think that’s something that has always set Big Dog Ink and Critter apart from other companies and books trying to do the same thing, is the production value. If you've been reading Critter then you’re in store for some changes, but not every change is bad and Hutchison has a good track record thus far. The book is going to continue as an ongoing and I believe will return in 2012 with the fifth issue so expect more Critter in the future.
Writer: Tom Hutchison Publisher: Big Dog Ink Price: $3.99