Review: ‘The Resistance’ #4 Reveals The Origin Of The Pandemic And A Sense Of Deja Vu

by Olly MacNamee

Up until now The Resistance has been an intriguing book, with a world being built and expanded upon with each new issue. The Resistance #4 continues to extend our view over this vision of a world brought down by a crippling pandemic that has left the survivors with super powers. But, it also takes us back to the beginning, patient zero and the initial distribution of the virus in an origin that, while I’ve seen far too many times before, is presented in a real-world way by J Micheal Straczynski’s script and Mike Deodato Jr.’s realistic artwork, often referring real life personalities in his characters to give it that added authenticity. That, and his reliance on photo references, although it don’t always work. When that does occur, it is quite glaring and takes you out of the comic momentarily. Thankfully, it’s minimal, at best.

The majority of this issue is told in disjoined flashbacks, starting at the crash site of the mysterious comet that unleashes the virus (hey, we ran the preview and it’s all there, so don’t consider this a spoiler, please), and playing through major turning point, and various people, familiar faces and organisations, such as the United Nations. All the while trying to figure out what this virus is, with each new theory only raising more questions about this deadly threat and deepening the mystery. Thankfully, Straczynski’s use of this comment narrative trope – comet comes to earth and transformed someone/something – is saved by this approach. Questions as to the origin of the comet and the virus dominate the issue. It’s only at by the end we are reminded of the growing resistance, but it’s a worthwhile, needy and interesting diversion. Itself something of a call-back for the winter, revisiting past glories.

What do I mean by that? Well, if like me you have been reminded of some similarities with the last shared universes of super powered individuals Straczynski created – Rising Stars for Image/Top Cow Comics (1999 – 2005) – then you’ll really get a strong sense of deja vu by the end of this particular issue with the writer revisiting one of the best visual tricks from that series, or any other comic book series for that matter, on the last two pages. Still a great trick, but for the best effect, you really do need to pick up a print copy of his book. Even if the layout of the pages, as I mentioned in yesterday’s preview) seems designed more for digital readers in mind. 
Real world approaches to science fiction problems, with both planned and unplanned parallels easily comparable to our own world, with Straczynski bringing a very strong sense of his TV experience to bare in this whole script. Dialogue over action that leads to one of the more intelligent and thought-provoking books on the shelves today. 
The Resistance #4 is available ow from AWA Upshots

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