And we’re back! Image Comics takes us back to visit Jen in The Mantle #4. In the last issue, she was in a sea of despair and booze. She has hidden herself away since Robbie’s death a few issues back. When we left off, we found Kahbrah, Necra, and the others were caught by The Plague and he was torturing them. I couldn’t have been the only reader waiting at the edge of my seat to see what happens next. Looking back at the story so far, I see this getting quickly tiresome. If it’s going to be one Mantle after another simply dying at the hands of this monster, I am going to lose interest quickly. Especially when all you see is a moping girl with no apparent desire to fix her own issues, despite one motive being literally thrust into her body with a wave of bright light. We find Jen drinking as the comic opens, and of course, it tugs the heartstrings to see her misery, which some of us may readily empathize with. But then Jen has a run in with an awesome hallucinatio and suddenly, the story takes an unexpected twist. Imagine the sort of mid-high epiphany that Shaggy must have had when he realized that Scooby was never talking back to him. It’s empowering, yet diminishing, and it’s exactly what Jen seems to need.
This particular issue focuses on Jen’s choices and her own struggle with courage, while on the sidelines, you get a glimpse into the pain of one of the intervening characters and say farewell to another. This issue is not very high-action or even very upbeat until the end, and there is nothing really that I would feel the need to read a second time within it. It was pretty straight-forward, somewhat slow, but it may turn out to be an important piece to the adventures of The Mantle.
Written by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Brian Level and Jordan Boyd
32 Pages, full color.