In Review: Witchfinder: The Gates of Heaven #4

Someone pays the ultimate price for investigating the supernatural.

The cover: A monstrous winged dragon explodes into existence near Big Ben, creating a bolt of destruction that hammers down on the iconic structure, causing it to explode. The creature looks great and the colors are fantastic on this cover from interior artist D’Israeli. The oranges and yellows give this cover a lot of power. Sadly, this is nowhere in this issue. Overall grade: A-

The story: Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson’s penultimate chapter in this saga opens where the last left off: an overgrown newt has emerged from the water and is attacking Sir Grey and his companions. The title character is trying to stop the creature with his gun to no effect. He tries to get in closer to see if that helps his bullets, but is yanked back by Singh just as the creature takes a swing at the hero, shredding his coat sleeve. Singh pulls his own gun to draw it away. Both men blast at it repeatedly, but nothing is slowing or harming the creature. Grant yells, “If the hide is bulletproof, aim for its bloody eyes!”, while Simon adds, “It appears to be aquatic, so perhaps flames would suffice — ?” Another character who’s been hanging back decides to intervene with disastrous results. Once the threat of the creature comes to a close, the heroes learn of a new character who could provide them with the location of the mysterious Aldous Middengard Sinclair. This was incredibly convenient, but if one doesn’t dwell on it, there’s much teased before the climatic cliffhanger. An interesting installment, though there are several questions dangling. Overall grade: B

The art: The visuals by D’Israel continue to look great. The first panel clearly and quickly establishes all the heroes and the creature, including the threat and its height. I like that the second panel shows the effect of Grey’s shots. When the title character runs about trying to fell the beast he looks incredible, with his jacket tails billowing out behind him. The action of the first panel on Page 6 looks great and the reactions to this action are just as impressive. I was actually surprised by the visuals on 7 that shows one character in distress. This type of violence hasn’t been shown on a character in this series and it took me aback — it was actually a solid shock, and that’s how it should make a reader feel. The setting that begins 8 looks great. The items in this location make the discussion believable. The reactions by two characters there are perfect, with the anger from one character awesome. I like how this anger carried over to the next page with this individual striking powerful stances, further communicating their anger to the reader. The final panel on Page 14 is a fun visual aside to the reader. There’s a supporting character that appears on 15 and she’s a visual hoot, whose look perfectly matches her dialogue. The character revealed on 18 is obviously not what the characters were expecting and this design makes the character sympathetic. There’s a lot of action on 20 and 22, looking like a combination of the godly and the cursed. I never get tired of looking at this art. Overall grade: A

The colors: Throughout this series colorist Michelle Madsen has been using muted colors to age the book and this is seen on the first page, with the characters wearing brown, tan, and black on a tan setting, battling a monster colored a brown-green. Even when the backgrounds are given a splash of brighter colors to accentuate the action, such as the second panel on the opening page, the oranges are faded and the sound is a light violet. The brightest colors are the yellows on the second page with a sound atop the orange background and a panel colored yellow to highlight the beast’s slash at Grey. Even blood is paled, but it is nonetheless a shock when it appears in copious amounts. When discussions take place at Grey’s the setting is very dark brown, which is as it would be then, and blacks dominate when the crew goes out on the hunt with a new lead. Blues dominate on 20 and 22 when things go “heavenly.” Very nice. Overall grade: A

The letters: Clem Robins creates this issue’s dialogue, sounds, yells, screams, final words and a whisper (the same font), scene settings, and the tease for the final issue. The sounds really come off as believable, with a variety of fonts making this so. This is incredibly apparent on the opening pages with the monstrous newt. I really like the ricochets and the creature’s roars. The final words and the whisper visually appear quieter to the reader because the text is smaller and further from the edges of their balloons — it’s very effective. Overall grade: A

The final line: Someone pays the ultimate price for investigating the supernatural, while the heroes finally get a lead. The opening action is great, but the reason for moving forward is too easy and quick. However, once onto this new lead, things are interesting, though it is mostly dialogue. A lot is being saved up for the finale, I’m sure. The visuals continue to impress, with art, colors, and letters creating a memorable reading experience. Overall grade: A-

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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