Supurbia #3 was always going to be a hard act to follow. As we saw a blood covered Helen Heart hunched over the badly beaten corpse of Hayley Harper it became apparent Grace Randolph is playing hardball. Issue #3 shocked and confronted me in a way I really wasn’t expecting and a month on it’s time to see if Randolph can do it again in Supurbia #4.
Spoiler alert level: vague – not overly detailed
Supurbia #4 begins to deal with the consequences left in the wake of the previous issues’ confronting events. Unfortunately it’s not as exciting, surprising or gripping as #3, but it is necessary and is very much a ‘picking up the pieces’ kind of issue. It opens exactly where the third installment left off, with a sobbing blood covered Helen Heart, and ends on what is, especially for this series, a rather bland note.
The whole issue reads like a well-aimed buck shot. There’s a definite direction to it all but there’s a lot of jumping around and the odd stray story fragment. Admittedly Sovereign and Helen once again take centre stage as well as the resolution of the death of Hayley Harper.
What was really great to see was Ruth Smith (the widow of Marine Omega) finally playing a significant role in the story. In the miniseries it was established that she was some sort of shape-shifting robot lady but she has barely been more than a background character in the ongoing series – until now! The real highlight of the issue is to see the blooming friendship between robot Ruth White and Helen Heart. That said, it does raise questions of Ruth’s hidden motives. Why would she reveal her identity as a shape-shifter to Helen? And why now?
Visually Supurbia #4 is your standard fare of what we’ve come to expect from Russell Dauterman in the series. As I have mentioned before, his art and layouts are steadily improving with each issue and in this installment there are a couple of panels where he really nails it. That said he does have a very ‘cartoon-esque’ style that may not appeal to the more hard-core and critical comic book fans. If you didn’t like his art in Supurbia #1, then you’re still not going to like it in Supurbia #4.
After the intensity and near perfection of Supurbia #3, issue #4 can’t help but seem a little dull in comparison. It’s not that it’s a bad issue – quite the opposite. It’s just very much an expected slump after a packed previous issue. If you’re already reading Supurbia then obviously you’ll want to pick this one up as it contains a lot of key plot points but if you’re a new reader then this really isn’t the place to jump on.