Review: Fallen World #4

Fallen World #4

In Fallen World #4, Rai’s greatest enemy has returned in a whole new form, and he’s got an army with him!

Can the cyborg samurai save innocent people from the powerful foe?

What roles will fan-favorite characters Eternal Warrior, Geomancer, and War Mother play in the battle?

Fallen World #4, written by Dan Abnett, featuring art by Adam Polina, colors by Ulises Arreola and letters by Jeff Powell is the penultimate issue in the series that follows the events of 4001 A.D. and War Mother. It also serves as the first time we see War Mother interact with another character from New Japan, the new Geomancer, and the Eternal Warrior.

Unfortunately, it’s also the weakest book so far in the series.

Gone are the allegories to the present day and our current struggles, replaced by an issue of combat and action that does little to provide any real excitement (which feels odd to say).

Regarding those allegories…

My love for this series is, in part, due to the analogs to our current world. There are clear problems between humans and their former slaves, the artificially intelligent positrons. This leads to some powerfully haunting moments in the first issue. The second issue introduced us to a religious sect that worship Father – or rather their idea of Father, crafted to suit their needs. It’s a series of undertones that add what all great science fiction has. That’s a powerful modern relevance despite the book being set two thousand years in the future. The third issue has added an interesting commentary on a foreign body trying to impose its will on the existent population. It’s a population that is less than thrilled with the proposition being offered by the foreign body.

From the review of Fallen World #3 I wrote last month.

Whereas the fourth issue has a throwaway line that infers people are willing to surrender far too much for the easy way out. It is a powerful line, but it’s lost amidst the rest of the issue and isn’t really revisited in any great detail, which is a shame.

Once again, the comic is split between two different plotlines; following Rai and the Eternal Warrior, the Geomancer and War Mother. Rai’s story is mostly focused on his impending confrontation with Father, and how the supporting characters try to help make such a thing a possibility in the finale of the miniseries. I’d love to say that the action of screen and the story itself are exciting, but it feels almost routine. Fallen World #4 is a by the numbers comic that is entirely at odds with the first two issues in the series – and as a person who was deeply enjoying the direction of the story, that’s a disappointing thing to say.

At this point, it would be nice to say that the diverging tale brings enough to the comic to save it, but there’s something a flatness in the way the Eternal Warrior, the Geomancer and War Mother interact; any of the emotion and humour from the previous issue seems to have drained away to be replaced with mostly forgettable dialogue (though there are highlights – for the most part it’s just “okay”).

I am aware that art is subjective, which makes talking about it tricky at times because this series has once again fallen below expectations for me. There are some wonderfully descriptive pages, and then you look at Gilad’s face and you wonder if it’s the same character that we saw last issue because he seems to have had an impromptu hair cut (which he seems to keep refreshing after every page or so), and the scars across his face have pretty much all but disappeared. Now while some of my misgivings can be attributed to the review pdf, there’s more than I can reasonably sweep under the rug.

That said, this series is still buoyed by two remarkable issues at the outset of the series, and another pretty good one right in the middle. While there has been a downward trend appearing, we’ve still got an issue left that will allow Abnett, Pollina and co to course correct for a much better finale than the fourth issue implies we’ll get. But, after a disappointing fourth issue, I’m still cautiously optimistic about the fifth.

Story: Dan Abnett Art: Adam Pollina
Colors: Ulises Arreola Letters: Jeff Powell
Story: 6.8 Art: 7.1 Overall: 7.0
Recommendation: Buy if you’ve come this far

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.