Previously: Hadrian’s Wall #3
Hadrian’s Wall #4 | Story: Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel | Artist: Rod Reis | Letters: Troy Peteri | Design: Rich Bloom | Editor: Matt Idelson | Publisher: Image Comics
After seeing Simon Moore deteriorate into little pieces of withdrawal last month, this issue gives us a glimpse into the past; back before Simon was hooked on painkillers, at all. Sure, he was already an alcoholic back then, but whatever.
The writing on this series has been very good for the first three issues, but this issue right here? Hadrian’s Wall #4? This is where shit just got real. This month’s edition not only continues the intrigue of murder mystery, but it also introduces the same kind of political strife the creative team’s previous series C.O.W.L. was absolutely loaded with by finally delving into the Theta stuff. There are now several different story lines being worked through, here, and they are all intersecting wonderfully.
First, Simon is still trying to solve Edward’s murder. After the events of last week, we know who his prime suspect is; in this issue, we even get to see them do it, from the bloodshot perspective of Simon’s sweat-drenched face–the man is looking rough. I love this sequence where we see the possible scenario of Edward’s murder because Rod Reis changes his entire color palette to paint it, which makes it look and feel more like a Hitchcockian nightmare than anything else.
Second, we have the relationship between Simon, Annabelle, and Edward. We see a bit more of that backstory here, but it’s just enough to make me want to know even more, which I’m sure we’ll see at some point… maybe. I mean, I guess it depends just how serious one moment in this issue turns out to be.
Anyway, the flashbacks in this issue not only gave us more details about Simon and Annabelle’s past, but it also gave us the opportunity to see Rod Reis’ vision of future Seattle again, as well as his fantastic rendition of a crowd of protesters that seems like it could have been just as at home on a brick wall as it is in these pages; these illustrations really hark back to the world of C.O.W.L. in a lovely way.
Third, we have whatever the hell Marshall is doing. We have known he was up to something, and this issue moves that story forward while also not really telling us what the hell is actually going on. I’m on pins and needles wondering just where exactly this story is about to go. Here, Reis has another moment of awesomeness where, on the final page of the issue, we’re shown a wonderful character design which feels as though I could have just as easily seen it show up in splash panel within one of the other “best-illustrated” titles out there right now: The Wicked + The Divine.
The Comm–letters section–here is a short and sweet one, consisting of only one question; it’s a good question, though. Within this section, Kyle Higgins mentions we’ll have to wait until March to read issue #5, so that’s a bummer, but that’s how arc finales work! They hook you! Beyond that, we get a sneak preview at Rockstars, a series that just started from Joe Harris, Megan Hutchison, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Michael David Thomas, and Tom Muller. Rockstars seems pretty good; it’s also a murder mystery, which is why it makes sense to tease it here, but this one looks like it will be chock full of references to rock & roll history. As one of the seemingly few who greatly enjoyed the now-cancelled HBO series Vinyl, I may just have to check this bad boy out.
Hadrian's Wall #4
This issue not only diverged within itself, but it also somehow managed to help the overarching plot lines converge in such a satisfying way for an arc finale. This issue ends in such a place that I honestly don’t know if we’re going to come back to this in March and see the same story lines keep going or if we have now moved down a different avenue altogether, and I love that.