And lo, does this, the fourth issue of Dark Horse’s superhero title, The Answer!, end the series. Or does it? “Well,” he said, using his best, non-regional newsreader diction, “The Answer! may surprise you!”
I’ve really been enjoying this book so far, in my past reviews remarking on how it’s been nice to be so mysteriously strung along in a convoluted, ever-emerging plot. That continues in the finale of what will prove to be simply the first arc of a greater story, something which very much excites me.
Returning protagonist and mild-mannered librarian, Devin McKenzie, goes further down the rabbit hole of this, her suddenly insane, superhero-filled, clandestine intelligencia bureau-rife, magic-peppered life. She does this by discovering that the so-called asylum beneath the already secret headquarters of her new employer, the Brain Trust, houses one particularly cuh-razy patient, who is actually the institute's director.
Through wild eyes, thinning hair and down the barrel of a handgun, he calls Devin “the key to a dazzling new age.” Whatever, guy, my mom told me the exact same thing. She also said that I’m “quite a catch,” so look out, ladies!
Anyway, this perturbed little prophet’s postulations soon prove at least possible when enters the previously missing Chip Carney, soul-patched wonder of New Wave philosophy and leader of the Scientology-esque Apeiron movement.
I’ve gotta give D-vine some serious cred here; she handles the meeting much better than I ever would. Seriously, if anyone ever said to me, “Call me Chip,” instead of echoing Devin’s “Okay, Chip,” I’d just say, “No.” And here, that rudeness would have saved me well, whereas Devin, contrariwise, falls prey to his devilish machinations, which involve some interesting psychotherapy, including mental images of a sea serpent and a giant squid.
Now, here, I do think that Hopeless and Norton missed a beat. There wasn’t even a mention of tentacle porn, which is frankly pretty goddamn unacceptable. Still, to mix the already stir-fried metaphors used by Chip even further, what he is trying to say is that Devin has only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what is behind The Brain Trust. This, of course, establishes all-but certain further misadventure and daredevilry for our heroes in the future.
Issue four goes on by brushing us alongside enlightenment to what the hell is going on, rather than providing definitive answers, and I’ll try to follow suit with this review. The cliff notes is that we get a further peek into the childhood of Devin, specifically a rather more dramatic class trip to a museum, where she inadvertently may have ripped open the fabric of reality after decoding an almost 3,000 year old puzzle in a magical book. That’s exactly why you pay attention to those little signs that say “Do Not Touch.” Rules, you guys. Follow them.
With this rift once again setting to let rip, Devin is saved by another mystery man from her past: a dude named Jay, who was also there when lil’ Devin kicked the inter-dimensional hornet’s nest, but in a very different capacity. Seemingly working with The Answer!, Jay intends to guide Devin through the increasingly sticky, magical quagmire, of which she is currently, firmly stuck in the middle.
This issue ends exemplifying how the entire series has, thus far, been - with a huge blast. The dialogue within The Answer! continues to be witty, fun, quick and as catchy as the fantastically classic art and story itself are action-packed. Each character speaks with his or own distinctive voice, apart from perhaps, the titular hero, who here seems more severe than in the preceding two issues, where he came across as a more measured Deadpool. Although, he does show flashes of the latter in the big boss battle at the end, and I’m sure his jumps in character are plot driven rather than an oversight.
Even though this is #4 of 4, don’t come round here looking for tight resolutions. I have to admit, I was a bit bummed that Hopeless and Norton didn’t give us a bit more garnish on this four-course meal, in terms of deeper hints to the mysteries they’ve been building, but something tells me that’s just going to make me enjoy the overall flavor of this title in the future. And it does succeed in further whetting my appetite for more Answers!
Writers: Dennis Hopeless & Mike Norton
Artist: Mike Norton
Colorist: Mark Englert
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 4/24/13