Reviewer: Tim Byrne
Story Title : Golden Age Part 4 of 5
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Alex Maleev
Colored by: Dave Stewart
Lettered by: Cory Petit
Editor: Jennifer Lee
Publisher: Marvel Comics
If this was professional wrestling, this issue would be something of a bait and switch. After leaving us hanging with a breath-taking cliff-hanger last issue, Bendis takes us back to give us more background detail of how the characters reached this point.
Flashing through times and places (such as Riker’s battles with Doctor Octopus and the ‘previous day’) we get much information on people like Bont and particularly an unexpected heir to the White Tiger Amulet.
Bendis is fond of the non-linear structure patented by television shows such as The West Wing, and used it to mixed reaction in story-lines such as Underboss.
The basic idea is that taking an end (or mid-point) a lot of rich story-telling potential can be mined by showing the steps (and mistakes) that the various characters took to reach that stage.
This technique can work in the hands of an experienced story-teller, but can arouse strong reactions in the realm of comic books, as it absolutely requires that each issue of an arc be purchased for the story to really have any impact at all. And when comics are individually sold (although more and more trade-oriented) this can be dangerous.
Anyway, this issue does have many strengths. The emotion of the situation surrounding the Amulet, and the background for Bont and so on is well-told.
The art, as always from Maleev, is nothing short of stunning. The use of different styles for the different time periods is absolutely wonderful, and sets the story off beautifully.
Guess we’ll have to wait till next month to find out what happens though…