I’ll admit that I was a tad too harsh on the last issue of Sovereign (it was more of a 6 out of 10). It did finally give me hope for the series because things were actually happening and it appeared to finally have a plot. Plus, the ending was really interesting and got me a bit intrigued in what was going on. This felt like a good sign for the series. With the latest issue here now, let’s find out. Is it good?
Sovereign #4 (Image Comics)
Our story begins with an eight page history lesson on the world the characters reside in (Artha) and its history and the ages it has gone through. After that, the old man of the Luminari (that’s the traveling monks) warn the Horselords and the people in the palace that they are all in great danger of daemons, who are infecting the bodies of the dead and rising them up (you know, zombies and all that). Of course, he’s a bit late on the warning and the kingdom is slowly being overrun by daemon zombies.
Make sure you are taking notes since there will be a quiz on all of this folks.
One thing I can say about this comic is that it is finally starting to feel like things are happening. We are getting more clarification on the threat, some explanation for the events we have been seeing throughout the comic, and we are also getting some backstory and mythology for this world that’s rather interesting to a certain degree. I mean, I’ve seen lots of these elements and ideas before (hell the Convergence and worlds coming closer together and causing trouble has been not too recently seen in the Legend of Korra), but it at least we are getting something here. It feels like the pieces of this comic are starting to come together for once and again, I feel more confident for the future of the comic.
The comic still has its problems that still plague it. This still feels like a setup issue and that somehow not much has really happened, or at least that all the exciting stuff is going on off screen. For instance, we had like 10 pages of building and setup to explain what is going on with the undead from last issue and then we don’t get to see much of it. We get some minor glimpses (two whole panels) of the zombies attacking people and the rest of the issue is just people commenting on how lost they are or arguing about how to deal with this threat. It’s a bit unsatisfying and adds to another problem of telling rather than showing. This is a very wordy comic and it doesn’t often allow for the artwork to show much excitement at points, nor does it allow its visuals to show what is going on or convey feeling or mood. At points, it really feels like the comic drags and becomes dull as you wait for something to happen.
Wait, I thought Quickenings had to do with chopping people’s heads off or something.
The comic also feels dry and hollow with its characters. It does a reasonable job at giving you an idea of their mindset and how they view their situation, but they themselves are not particularly interesting or memorable. There is nothing really about them that stands out, nothing that’ll help you care and sympathize with them all that well, and nothing that gives you any reason to like them. They have their backstories and secrets, but they do nothing to help you get invested. For example, the girl of the Luminari is revealed to be a seer, a person who can sort of see the future to a certain degree. This might be fascinating, but nothing about the girl herself is interesting and she’s just sort of there, having done nothing. So this reveal is met with more of an apathetic shrug rather than a look of surprise and interest.
The artwork remains something that I’m not really a big fan of, but also something that definitely will have its appeal. There is some nice and creative feel with it, especially during the history lesson we get and the reveal of the daemon zombies. I also like the coloring that helps bring certain areas and some more mystical elements to life, while some layouts and the double page spread are well put together. It’s just that the characters are visually unappealing and the body proportions are terrible (sometimes, people’s fists are bigger than their heads). It just bothers me and keeps me from getting much into the art of this series.
Is It Good?
Sovereign #4 continues to show potential and have an intriguing, if admittedly familiar story that may be worth reading. However, it’s still bogged down by its slow pace, being too much tell instead of show, and forgettable cast of characters. There are things to like here, but it still needs much more improvements before it can fully recommendable.