Review: War of the Realms #4

War of the Realms #4

War of the Realms #4 plays out like a big budget film on the printed page. Does all flash and little depth work for this Marvel event?

Pray to All-Mother Freyja! For in her hands lies the key to ending Malekith’s war. The Black Bifrost – the only method of travel for Malekith’s vast armies – must fall.

War of the Realms #4 is all about rallying the troops. Writer Jason Aaron delivers a disjointed issue that leaves you wondering if there was something you missed while reading.

Freyja has dispatched her team to gain allies for a final showdown on Midgard. The issue hops around to the various action hotspots and how the Avengers teams are doing. That’s the problem with the issue. Aaron has put together an epic story that isn’t served by a main series.

War of the Realms‘ main series has felt like a newscast. It delivers quick hits as to what’s going on with little depth to the story itself. Captain America’s team retrieved Thor. In other words, beyond their departure and travel last issue, we know little else. How did they calm him down? You’ll need to get a different comic for that. That’s a major issue as no series, whether it be the main or a mini-series, has felt like a complete story. They’re pieces of a puzzle that can only be enjoyed and appreciated if you read everything.

Even then there’s an issue of too much going on. Great concepts are introduced and quickly abandoned. The story and characters have to shift elsewhere. This leaves the reader to wonder what’s going on and confused. It leads to enhancing the choppy and distracted nature of the issue.

What Aaron has put together is something that feels almost too epic. There’s not enough issues and pages, and not enough time to really explore and appreciate what has been going on. It’s very much a thin summer blockbuster whose entire shtick is to wow you with visuals and concepts. It’s all razzle dazzle so you don’t explore or think too much about what you’re experiencing.

That’s helped by the artist team of Russell Dauterman and colorist Matthew Wilson, along with letterer Joe Sabino, who deliver a fantasy epic that feels like it’s right at home within the Marvel Universe. Even that feels short in some ways. For instance, moments pop but not quite to the extent you’d expect or hope for. Epic stands of characters feel dialed back as the hordes descend upon and the lack of two page spreads don’t drive it home. Moments that are supposed to pop and have you linger and deliver emotion don’t quite nail the landing. Like the story itself, it all feels like a concept not quite fleshed out.

Aaron and Dauterman have been a hell of a duo elsewhere, but War of the Realms continues to limp along with an event that’s better concepts than execution. The issue feels rushed and slapped together. The event isn’t being given the life it needs to breathe and stand out. As the climactic chapter of the story Aaron has been weaving for years, War of the Realms seems to be going out not with a bang but with a whimper.

Story: Jason Aaron Art: Russell Dauterman
Color: Matthew Wilson Letterer: Joe Sabino
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation:

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review