REVIEW: ‘Rogues’ Gallery,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Rogues’ Gallery #4

Rogues’ Gallery #4 is written by Hannah Rose May from a story by May and Declan Shalvey, illustrated by Justin Mason, colored by Triona Farrell, and lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. It’s published by Image Comics. Life has taken a turn for the worst for Maisie Wade. She thought she would be able to put aside her role as the Red Rogue, but that seems next to impossible. Not only has the Internet declared her Public Enemy #1, but a group of disgruntled fans broke into her house. And one of them seems hellbent on killing her. In the end, it may be the Red Rogue that saves her life…but at what cost?

From the very beginning of this series, I’ve been hooked by the premise. Not only is it a creative melding of the superhero and horror genres, but it actually manages to tackle real-world issues in a way that’s been given some thought. Dodge, the murderous fan, feels like Maisie “ruined” the Red Rogue with her portrayal, and she has to pay for that with her life. Maisie retaliates by pointing out that he and his friends broke into her house and terrorized her and her husband. “The Red Rogue was never real…but I am,” she says in one of the book’s final bits of dialogue. I’d recommend the book for that line alone, as it underlines a very real issue with fans feeling possessive over the media they watch/read and the actions they take to “defend” it.

The buildup to that point ratchets up the tension and the terror with expert timing. May knows when to dangle hope in front of the reader and when to punch them in the gut. And there are some major gut punches, especially at the end of the book. Perhaps the scariest sequences in the book concern Dodge. When one of his cohorts wounds Maisie’s husband, Ben, he flips out and screams, “That’s not how it happens!” He’s not concerned with the fact that a living, breathing human being died; he’s angry that he won’t get to live out his revenge fantasy. Again, sobering stuff.

Mason gets in on the horror vibes, staging action that feels appropriately brutal. It’s not like the carefully choreographed fights you might see in an action thriller or with a street-level vigilante like Daredevil. Every strike is brutal, precise, and often bloody. Farrell also sets a dangerous scene with her color art, making sure red is the most prominent color. It’s in the blood that flows from the victims, it’s in the sky that surrounds the house, and it’s in the Red Rogue gear that Maisie dons to defend herself. But the real artistic standout is Otsmane-Elhaou. They choose to showcase the cloud of social media hatred following Maisie as she runs through the house, the tweets and messages manifesting as a specter she can’t seem to get rid of. It’s a visual choice that is both clever and haunting.

Rogues’ Gallery #4 closes out a  gripping and often sobering tale about when the lines between fandom & reality become blurred. This series is a must-read for anyone who calls themself a fan of anything, especially with how prominent superheroes have become in pop culture. Even the ending will give readers something to think about.

Rogues’ Gallery #4 is available wherever comics are sold.


Rogues’ Gallery #4
5

TL;DR

Rogues’ Gallery #4 closes out a  gripping and often sobering tale about when the lines between fandom & reality become blurred. This series is a must-read for anyone who calls themself a fan of anything, especially with how prominent superheroes have become in pop culture. Even the ending will give readers something to think about.

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