Review: Into The Belly Of The Beast In ‘Cosmo The Mighty Martian #4’

by James Ferguson

The quest to save the Martian relics takes Cosmo and his crew right into the castle of Queen Hesper on Venus. Are they heading for glory or right into a trap? With Cosmo’s sudden and unexpected visions guiding the way, you’d think they’d be a bit more prepared.

As this is the penultimate issue of Cosmo The Mighty Martian, things move at a pretty fast pace, preparing for the final confrontation with Hesper. As fun as this is, I feel like I missed something along the way. There’s definitely a history between our Martian hero and this tyrant, but we haven’t spent a lot of time digging into it. They were friends some time ago and now they’re not. While I don’t think it’s a good idea to dump a bunch of exposition on us, especially this late in the game, the story can feel like it’s making a few jumps.
That being said, the setup for this covert mission is pretty fun with artist Tracy Yardley turning in a command performance. The panel layouts alone for this issue are something to behold. Yardley really drives home the sci-fi aspect of this comic with some great breakdowns, while giving it a bit of a spooky flair. A great example of this is when the crew enter a secret passageway in the castle. They’re ascending a hidden staircase in the middle of the page while others go about their business in rooms around them. It’s a nice cutaway that works wonders.

The eventual battle between Cosmo’s team and Hesper’s minions is also top notch. As the fight gets more intense, the panels get more erratic. It’s like the layout is mirroring the stress you might be feeling while reading it, hoping our heroes prevail.
Hesper’s team is shown in the same cartoony style as the rest of the book, but there’s an air of evil to them. It’s very clear that they’re the bad guys here. Colorist Matt Herms raises the stakes too with some nice shadow work. The bulk of the battle is shown in bright, vibrant colors, but when things take a turn for the worse, a dark cloud begins to emerge over the entire scene.

One aspect that really stands out with Cosmo The Mighty Martian is how well the crew interacts with one another. They all go way back, even the earthling Max at this point, so they have some friendly banter that you’d expect between old friends. Letterer Jack Morelli explores the nuances with this with some solid work, adding just the right amount of bold text for Max’s brash speech and then bringing things down when things get more serious.

The fate of the solar system hangs in the balance as these mysterious Martian relics are up for grabs. Cosmo intends to keep them safe, but Hesper has the opposite in mind. Who will prevail as we head into the last chapter? In many ways, Cosmo The Mighty Martian has flowed like a video game. We’ve gone through the lower level bosses and now writer Ian Flynn is preparing us for the final boss. I hope we’ve stocked up on health packs.
Cosmo The Mighty Martian #4 from Archie Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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