February 6, 2012

Image Reviews: The Last of the Greats #4

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Written by: Alex
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The Last Of The Greats #4
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist: Brent Peeples
Inks: Matthew Waite
Colors: Mirka Andolfo
Letters: Troy Peteri
Editor: Rod Levin
Design: Tony Fleecs
Production: Phil Smith
Logo: Kody Chamberlain

Gosh, I don’t even know where to begin with this issue. I may have previously said that The Last of the Greats is “Disturbing and disorienting, but delightfully so.” Well, while that duality still rings true, the “disturbing” now hits like a brick to the face–or possibly a moving vehicle from behind. I had to go drown myself in nostalgic childhood Spielberg movies just to get my mind on something else for a while. It’s because of this that I think Joshua accomplished his goal.

The way The Last’s siblings are still a part of him was done in such a literal and interesting way. The panels in which he is treated with disrespect by his siblings sort of lighten the mood for a very brief moment, which made way for possibly the gruesomest soldier splattering yet. It shows a new side of him; he’s just the oppressed younger sibling underneath it all. Unfortunately, this little brother has god-like powers and an unquenchable contempt for humanity. Even more terrible is the way Charles is manipulated. I’ve never seen a protagonist seem so hopeless in the face of aggression. The sexual trickery was just bone chilling, and I felt nervous about what I knew was probably coming.

It did, and since the day I first picked up a comic book , I never thought I’d read those simultaneously awful and absolutely necessary pages. Because of how terrible rape is, nothing is more difficult than explaining why what happens to Charles is a good thing; a good thing for clichés in comics, not a good thing for him obviously. It sickens me how much rape and sexual assault is used as a component in the origins of many female characters (Oracle, Black Cat, etc.). The Last of the Greats has removed rape from it’s clichéd context and reminded us of how insanely evil it truly is in its violation of human decency.

However, just when the book is at its darkest and most devious, Charles’s daughter may be approaching her moment of greatness. What a perfect moment to bring us out of despair.

Can’t wait for issue five!

Alexander Lorenzen



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