Dead of Winter #4

Publisher: Oni Press
Writer: Kyle Starks
Artist: Gabriel Bautista

Review by Anelise Farris 

Dead of Winter #4 is the conclusion to the zombie-filled comic based on the popular board game Dead of Winter. In issue three, most of the crew, along with our favorite drunk Santa Forest, made the bad decision to visit an “empty” mall. Meanwhile the rest of the group was being detained at a police station by a not-so-sane police officer. Things were looking pretty bleak when we last saw the crew: zombies everywhere, and the confirmation that everyone would be dead without our favorite good boy, Sparky.

Here, in Dead of Winter #4, the mall crew decides to break into the police station and free their friend. While zombies are of course present, the crew’s biggest rival is the deranged cop who is waging war against everyone—human and zombie alike.

First, let’s talk about this cover: a closeup of Sparky, shattered sunglasses on, zombies reflected in the glass, and blood on his muzzle. When I saw this, I knew Sparky was really going to shine in this issue: he isn’t here to play; he’s here to protect his humans, and he means business. My second favorite character in this series is Carla, and in this issue she rallies the crew together to be bold and free their friend. She delivers a moving speech that life is scary—zombies or no zombies—but we still have to get stuff done.

As with the other issues, the humor is sprinkled throughout to give us believable dialogue and moments of relief from the onslaught of horror. The art also works to this effect. Though cartoonish, Gabo’s choice of muted colors and stark landscapes heightens the suspense and despair. Dead of Winter #4 is an emotional conclusion, and at no point do you feel that any character is “safe.” At one point while I was reading, I literally yelled out “NO!” So, prepare yourself for a wild ride.  Fortunately, I can say that I was happy by the last page.

Verdict: Buy it!

This series has been a joy since the first issue, and I’m sad that it’s over. However, Dead of Winter #4 is a satisfying conclusion that delivers humor, horror, and zombie-hating dog action.

Anelise Farris
farranel@isu.edu
I'm a doctor that specializes in folklore and mythology, speculative fiction, and disability studies. Basically, I'm a professional geek. When not researching or teaching, I read; I write; I yoga; I travel; I play with my fur babies; and, I watch way too many (if that's a thing) horror movies.

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