By Ashley Gibbs
Skin & Earth #4 follows En and Tsu on a mission of revenge against Priest, En’s ex and it’s about as interesting as you expect. While some important things are discussed, they’re bogged down by sluggish pacing and dull dialogue. While it is commendable that the narrative kept me guessing where the story would go next, it also left me confused and disinterested in how this journey ends. This series is linked to the latest album by Lights, sharing the same title, with the themes of the songs aligning with the comic, however, the album is a lot better than the comic itself.
The main story notes of interest are En and Tsu tracking down Priest and setting fire to his car, while also finding out a shocking secret about him. Also, En discovers something very disturbing buried in the woods that hints she might not have been his first starry-eyed lover. Another thing that was touched upon is that it seems that Tsu and Priest know each other, somehow. Surrounding these important moments are pages, and pages, and pages of En and Tsu talking about mostly useless things. While this is an earnest attempt to strengthen their bond, Tsu is still a mystery much like Priest was and thus I don’t trust her. Because of this, it paints En as a person who will cling to any sign of happiness without thinking it over though her thought process could very well be that in a horrible world you have to hold onto beauty when you find it. The intrigue building up is fascinating but it’s buried under uninteresting filler.
Lights is a musician, not a professional artist and while it’s commendable that she’s tackling this whole series on her own the artwork suffers because of it. It’s not bad but it’s also a style that some might not enjoy. Style aside, this issue struggled far more than previous issues in regards to character proportions, poses, facial expression, and angles. What is good, however, is the color palette, which expresses the tone of the scene as well as the movements of the characters. Hair blows in the wind, demonstrating there is a world in motion where the characters live and struggle, and in a striking scene near the end, En looks very lovely when she dives into a lake.
While this review might seem harsh on Skin & Earth #4 it’s mainly because I had my hopes up for an engaging series but it’s faltering due to slow pacing and an ambiguous plot. This series currently only has three characters limiting the interactions that we can see, which probably causes some of the pacing issues. En lives in a post-apocalyptic world with a lot of opportunity for different stories to be told but currently, the main focus is her love life, which is fine, but the story could be handled better. En’s discovery in the woods will hopefully drive things forward to where readers get some answers and resolutions.
Skin & Earth #4
Writer & Artist: Lights
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment