Written by: Matt Smith
Art by: Carl Critchlow
Published by: IDW Publishing
And now, the end is near; and so I’ll face the final curtain… Here we are, at the concluding issue in this thoroughly entertaining 4 part story by Matt Smith and Carl Critchlow. This series has been of a high standard from the start. The pencils of Critchlow have been a constant delight, the range and scope, allied with the subject matter, have all combined to deliver a visual feast.
The issue opens with a suitably perilous setting for our heroine: she is trapped and, seemingly, at the mercy of the shadowy, evil, Ashberry. During the course of this series, the figure of Ashberry has gone from an intangible shadow, the King of the 6 Sectors; and, as the story has progressed the real figure has come to the fore: a real, living, bogeyman to scare all who dwells in Mega City One. When Ashberry steps into the light, when the myth of the monster is revealed to be all too real, those ghastly eyes, that demeanour, do not fail to impress, to instil a sense of dread. A lot of times when there has been a drawn out reveal of the evil in the shadows, of monsters in the darkness, we can feel disappointment in their actual form. Not here, our evil is a genuine and insidious villain.
Matt Smith has delivered in every issue of this series a convincing and organic tale. The handing of the story has been solid, the pace has always been at the service of the story, never too hasty in the development, never too tardy in the exposition. As with the preceding issues of this series, the writing has been spot on in issue 4.
If there are any criticisms of this issue, it resides in the twist at the end and the Bond-like reveal from Ashberry to Anderson. The twist lacks surprise and is a little tame, while the reveal is a merely a jaded mechanism to deliver back story. During his tenure on this mini-series, Matt Smith has proven to be a worthy scribe for Judge Anderson and the 2000AD universe. His characters and story have worked very well and have culminated in a tidy (possibly too neatly) ending. A very satisfying mini story that shows how to write a well paced story and how to illustrate a book to a consistently high standard. Thoroughly good quality entertainment from a very skilled team.