Adrienne Fox

Comic Review: Apocalypse Al #4

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Apocalypse Al #4 concludes the story of our indomitable investigator on her mission to save the world, again. However, this is not quite the epic conclusion I had hoped it to be. See my reviews of the other issues: Apocalypse Al #1, Apocalypse Al #2, Apocalypse Al #3.

Cover Apocalypse Al #4 courtesy of Image Comics

Cover Apocalypse Al #4 courtesy of Image Comics

Apocalypse Al #4
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Sid Kotian
Color: Bill Farmer
Publisher: Image Comics
Release date: May 7, 2014

See if you agree with my take on the series. You can purchase Adventures Of Apocalypse Al TPB Vol. 01 here.

When we last saw Al, she had followed clues to a popular amusement park and beat all kinds of demons before she pursued her ex-boyfriend, Scott, and the holder of the book of keys, Waltham, into some sort of vortex. After a less than graceful landing post-vortex, she’s ready to take down Walther and stop this world-ending nonsense.

But first, Scott corners her for a heart to heart. (C’mon Al, is this really the time? Tick tock!) Scott sees the end of the world as a chance for him and Al to be reunited in love. Sacrificing the world to be with her is completely acceptable to him. Fortunately for the world, Al doesn’t see it the same way.

To stop Waltham, Al climbs one of the Watt Towers. Waltham is there in his striped shirt and beret with a French accent. But why would a guy with such a dashing sartorial style want to end the world? Well, a woman rejected him. Waltham laments, “She laughed at me! She said she belonged to the world, not to one man, especially not one so small and insignificant.” And he follows that up with, “So I decided to do all I could to destroy her.” (Ugh.)

Here’s the SPOILER: Al ends up taking Waltham down and saves the world.

The issue closes out with the Ultimate Darkness ogling Al while she is in the bath—because Ultimate Darkness always peeks. (Sigh.) At least Al declines the offer to work for Ultimate Darkness full time to pursue her own gigs.

OK! Well it was interesting, but I’m back to being “meh” on this miniseries. While I certainly don’t believe that Straczynski was promoting any sort of Eliot Rodger/PUAHate message in Waltham’s speech, in fact I think he is poking fun at it, having a romantic rejection be the villain’s impetus to destroy the world doesn’t sit well with me. I wish Straczynski had chosen any other reason or trope or cliché for Waltham’s motivation. Even with Al shutting down Waltham’s plot and her self-possessed attitude, Waltham’s speech overshadows any fun traits I like about Allison Carter.

Combine Waltham’s out of proportion reaction to rejection with Scott’s obsessive attitude to sacrifice the entire world to be with Al plus the techno mage that feels up Al when she is unaware and I find this series problematic to say the least. The “strong female character” that is supposed to be Al is lost among these horrible male stereotypes that objectify her. I don’t know. Al is on the cover of issue #4 lying limp in Scott’s arms when the story has her saving the world, not Scott. Maybe Al was never meant to be anything more than an object or a tough girl to be subjugated.

Recommendation: No more Al for me. I’ll be reading the next Criminal Macabre series and keeping my fingers crossed NBC nails it with the Constantine show. I say try those instead.

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