You will not receive a new pen with this issue, regardless of whatever lies that cover tells you. Don't listen, it's a charmer!
If you're a fan of absurdist humor — Pushing Daisies or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or their ilk — you're probably in love with Ludocrats, a series that steeps itself in whimsy and surrealism like a comfy coat. The work being done here is regularly spectacular, and even here, on as close as it's ever come to not being perfect, still does a lot right.
Here, the plans of previous issues have come back in less than helpful ways as the protagonist Otto von Subteran is literally haunted by the costs of his own lusts. There's a very meta section that almost tanked the issue, a bit with two dimensions (and a self-deprecating gag at one of the characters) and some pretty heavy-handed exposition, but when even the characters therein found it too much, it morphed itself into a helpful plot point. That's an enormously tricky narrative feat to pull off, and the script from Jim Rossignol and Kieron Gillen make it look effortless.
Then there's this literal bombardment of wonderful, ridiculous, and interesting ideas, Gatling gunned at the reader without pause or context, all expanding the mad scope of this wonderful continuity. This preposterous parade of possibility and puns is brought to clever and crafty life by the visual team of Jeff Stokely, Tamra Bonvillain, and Clayton Cowles, making some fiery framings of the strongest pillars of Ludocratic society.
Ludocrats #4 is fun, from top to bottom, even as it has a throwaway phrase that will send you running to previous issues to see if that connection had been mentioned before. The idea that this implausibly amazing work has to come to an end may be one of the biggest tragedies in publishing right now. Where will you go, to fill the Otto von Subteran sized hole in your life? RATING: BUY.
We were going to give away a free pen on the cover of this issue, as it's the penultimate issue, but we costed it, and then our accountant attacked us, and then we decided to just do the comic instead. Hope that's okay with you. I'm sorry. We're disappointed too, but also bleeding from the accountant onslaught.
Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on BleedingCool.com, and more information can be found at his website, www.hannibaltabu.com.
Plus, get free weekly web comics on the Operative Network at http://bit.ly/combatshaman.