With Bliss #4, writer Sean Lewis and artist Caitlin Yarsky continue their story about man versus gods that is, at its core, about man versus himself. After three poetic, beautifully illustrated issues that shake at the pillars of what comics as a medium can be, this fourth issue takes this saga of drugs, murder, corruption, and rot to new, soaring heights.
Much like as with the third issue of Bliss, this fourth installment left me in disbelief at the issue number. It feels like I've been reading Bliss for twelve epic issues, and not because it has been a slog at all, but rather because of how invested in the characters the reader feels, because of the way the mythology has blossomed from the center at a slow and deliberate pace, because of the way that what seemed like a framing device in the first two issues' court case has become an intense and cathartic culmination of the backstory.
The tragic, morbid cliffhanger of Bliss #3 resolves in an unexpected way that offers relief, only to take it away shortly after with a line of dialogue from a wicked bird. Lewis and Yarsky seem to play with how much darkness the reader can take, especially in this issue, as they paint a picture of a man and, because of him, a family that teeters on the edge of absolute darkness and grace.
There is nothing else like Bliss on the shelves at comic book stores right now, and maybe, not ever. It's absurdist without alienating the reader, telling a story that functions as a morality play as well as a straightforward story about humanity struggling against forces normally thought of as being beyond their control. Caitlin Yarsky and Sean Lewis have something truly special on their hands with Bliss, and personally, I can't wait to watch it play out.