Cold War #4 Advanced Review: Far Less than the Sum of Its Parts

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Sath and Tikk are in charge now. They seem to know what's going on, and they have effectively supplanted Vinh. We learn of Sath and Tikk's past, their relationship, and the organization they were associated with in their original lifetime. Meanwhile, LQ continues to investigate what is going on behind the war, suits, weapons, and killing. We learn the rest of her story too, and we see how she got to this point.

Cold War #4 cover by Hayden Sherman
Cold War #4 cover by Hayden Sherman

There is ambition and creativity behind Cold War. Christopher Sebela and Hayden Sherman are constructing a different kind of story where the role of protagonist shifts from issue-to-issue and main characters can die at the drop of a hat.

The characters are well-constructed too. Vinh and LQ are interesting. Rook and Johnny were more archetypal, but they had interesting roles in the story. Sath and Tikk have a bizarre backstory, and the nature of their relationship has a clever and believable twist to it.

Unfortunately, this comic is far less than the sum of its parts. The nature of the "Cold War" is still vague. We're given puzzle pieces to put together, but the picture they create is disappointingly conventional in a story like this.

Worse yet are the backstory dumps. They annihilate any sense of pacing and flow, and they are loaded for bear with text. It doesn't help that these are often delivered for characters that are going to die in the same issue, making it all feel unnecessary.

Sherman's artwork is gritty and heavily angled, which makes sense for a sci-fi war-torn dystopia story like this. However, it still makes many scenes hard to parcel out, and the color palette is oppressively one-note most of the time. There are clever visual indicators like the color-coding of Tikk and Sath in their flashbacks, but most of the comic is not visually engaging.

Cold War #4 is a frustrating read. It has good ideas, but they are drowned in the method of their own delivery. The pacing is abysmal, the visuals are opaque in terms of clarity, and the heart of its mystery is threatening to be disappointingly conventional given the creativity of many of the comic's ideas. This one doesn't earn a recommendation. Give it a pass.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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