Comic Book Review: Rapture #4
This week brings us to the conclusion of Ninjak and Shadowman’s epic quest into the Deadside. This fantasy-fueled adventure is just what I love about Valiant stories as it can come out of nowhere. This isn’t Ninjak’s first trip to the Deadside, but it is good to know that they can create such a captivating story just by throwing him out of his element, and into the company of those who are more used to this corner of the universe.
I think we all knew the story would reach this point where the urgency to beat Babel could never be greater, but you could never have expected how we would get to where we are now. Not for the secrets revealed about the history of the Loa, and not for the shock of how far Shadowman is willing to go to free himself of the burden of his Loa. The start of this finale threw us straight back into the thick of this escalating situation. These last two issues are the ones that truly made this feel like a crossover with Shadowman. It gave us exactly what we needed from his character that he has been lacking for so long, and certainly made up for all the time he was on the sidelines. This impossible choice he was given to turn the ties of the fight was the highlight of this issue because he has never been given this chance to prove that there is a hero somewhere deep inside. As they said, this was his time to strike back and did not disappoint.
It seems that there was still one more undiscovered truth about Shadowman. Well not a truth, more than a new direction given which couldn’t have come at a better time. I think if there was any way to send the message that they want to satisfy fans with a Shadowman who can be a part of the world around them, they did so brilliantly as his story has now come full circle from where it last left off.
When it came time for that last confrontation, they did not pull punches with what had to be done in order to take down Babel. Truthfully it was a bit hard to understand what kind of threat he would unleash till that time had come. Master Darque for example was easy to fear for the kind of magic he does and his lack of respect for lives other than his own. Babel on the other hand had this one desire, but it was impossible to fully comprehend the consequence of his actions. It was then that the line in the sand was unmistakably drawn. Especially when finding that point where Jack would stop being just the wildcard in this conflict. This fight of Jack’s was both intense and enlightening. Nothing is more exciting than this one chance to really see what happens when there is a fight between Loas. Not to mention what happens when Jack stops fighting his nature or purpose as Shadowman.
All that aside, Tama as a Geomancer so far is my favorite. I loved Kay as she tried discovering herself as one, but this is the first Geomancer who genuinely comes with purpose and direction. She has a power that shouldn’t be underestimated and a heart which is a vast contrast to many of the heroes this universe has to offer.
This issue gives to us the art team of CAFU, Francis Portela, Juan Jose Ryp and Andrew Dalhouse. When I saw that three of those artists would have a hand in this, I must say at first I was a bit fearful for how it would turn out. With this being the last issue you wouldn’t want to run that risk of losing readers to too many shifts in art style. Surprisingly I must say that though you could see where things changed here and there, it was nothing significant enough to distract you from the story. All regardless of difference are skilled artists that did excellent in capturing the key moments of this finale. It did help that you had a single artist who knows how to blend these pencils together through consistency. As I said above, the last fight was awesome for the chance to see Loas fighting each other. If there was any way of saying that you should fear Jack’s, they did just that through him realizing just what he is capable of when he doesn’t have to hold back. The Loas had character to them and weren’t just there to look pretty. Not to say that the color work for them isn’t still beautiful. And speaking of colors, the work done to the Liveside was impressive. Not too overpowering with whites, and Dalhouse nailed the serene atmosphere set through a pale selection of colors. Overall there wasn’t anything here you wouldn’t want to give a second look just for the detail that went into every scene, especially the detail that went into the settings and structures.
The final battle for life itself cam and ended with Rapture #4. They gave us the very best of both worlds whether you are a fan of Shadowman or Ninjak. We explored a new world, we saw more of one already existing, and the boundaries of fantasy overall were further pushed to their limits. It surprises me not that Valiant could pull off another memorable story and do so through yet another miniseries.