Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Greg Capullo
Inker: Jonathan Glapion
Colourist: FCO Plascencia
Letterer: Nate Piekos
Publisher: Image Comics
A review by Stephanie Pouliotte
Reborn #4 begins in the middle of the action, as Bonnie and Big Tom find themselves surrounded by a horde of demons and beastly creatures in Il Mago’s dungeons. Bonnie finally seems to be getting the hang of her warrior powers, easily dispatching the guards as well as the Master Jailer. In the hopes of starting a revolt, she releases the other prisoners who plead to her for freedom. But she isn’t within the borders of Adystria any longer, and as Big Tom points out, the lost souls who are reborn in the Dark Lands aren’t the most trustworthy folk. So Bonnie and her father are taken to the top of Death Wish Mountain to be sacrificed in exchange for a dark wish, and the one holding the blade used to be her schoolmate.
In this issue, Millar gets us acquainted with the denizens of Golgotha’s domain, and Bonnie learns some difficult truths about human nature and her own naiveté. He brilliantly contrasts this with a brutal moment later in the issue, when Bonnie steels herself and makes a fierce, merciless decision. That being said, I still think Millar only scratches the surface of her character and is holding back too much about her. Her hero’s mantle feels a bit out of place, not because she’s yet to master her skills or is unaccustomed to leading, but because we simply don’t know who she is now that she’s been reborn; she just doesn’t have much of a personality below the surface. Thankfully, Bonnie does takes on a more active role than in the last issue, but the connection isn’t quite there for me yet, and I’m really hoping we get to know more about her in the coming issues. Although I’ve said before that this will likely be revealed through encounters with people from her past life, in Reborn #4 these were short lived, and didn’t really progress her character development or probe into her feelings about how different they are since being reborn (and what that may mean for her husband Harry.)
Millar introduces some potentially interesting characters; I just wish he spent more time with them. It feels like the story makes some progress, then falls back as the table is reset. Even though it was made clear from the first issue that Bonnie was prophesied to save Adystria from Lord Golgotha’s grasp, Big Tom’s talk of predestination takes the wind out of some tense moments, essentially lowering the stakes by saying Bonnie is untouchable but by the hand of fate. Suddenly the danger isn’t that palpable and the issue’s climax falls flat because of it. We do learn something important about Golgotha’s past in the final pages that really tugs at my curiosity, but Millar falls back into some expositional dialogue, as a henchmen conveniently asks, obviously for the benefit of the reader, a question that perfectly sums up their future plans.
I’ll say this, Reborn #4 was definitely a thrilling issue that boasts some amazing fight scenes and gorgeously detailed panels. Capullo continues to bring Millar’s epic afterlife to… well life! It’s evident that he’s now completely comfortable in the fantasy genre, while still pulling inspiration from his dark and gruesome body of work. The character renditions are stunning, and I particularly like how the colour palette makes Bonnie seem to almost glow against the darkness in her white bodysuit, a clear focal point for the eye that draws you through each panel.
Buy It! With Reborn #4, this creator-owned series continues to be an epic, fantasy adventure with a really compelling story world and a wonderful cast of characters. Though I still find our heroine a little bland, Millar takes some good steps toward shaking up our expectations about her character. I can’t say enough good things about Capullo’s artwork, he’s really showcasing the breadth of his talent here in Reborn. If you’re a fan of his work, you need to make sure you’re reading this title.