Roland King Is Shaken And Stirred Up In ‘King Of Spies’ #4 Advance Review

by Olly MacNamee


It’s the endgame for Roland King as he plans one last hit. ‘King of Spies’ #4 delivers the kind of big-ass blockbuster blowouts we all associated with James Bond, or any number of similar espionage-themes films, but it also has emotional depth too. A chance to make things right and make up for past mistakes? Maybe.


If you’re going to go down, go down fighting. And, if you can bring down as many of the opposition as possible, then the more the better. And that’s exactly what our man, Roland King, has been gunning for since his epiphany in the first issue. But bow we come to the series’ finale and if you know anything about mark Millar’s writing, you know he doesn’t do lowkey endings, and King of Spies #4 is no different. 

This issue brings even more balls-to-the-wall action, but interspersed between the high octane, high stakes fisticuffs we get quieter moments. A good deal of quieter, more poignant moments. One such moment sees King reunite with a past conquest, Fatima, who shares a secret with him that is both revelatory and possibly a little too late, given King’s terminal diagnosis. It’s a bitter-sweet scene, but one that allows King to at least make some peace with one of the women he used and cast aside in his past. The issue is definitely a long goodbye as King sets about how endgame and in doing so tries to make good as much as he can. 

Meanwhile, whatever the scene, artist Matteo Scalera proves his mettle and his skills. The composition, the eye for detail when establishing a scene, and even the quieter, more intimate moments, Scalera time and again creates a believable, breathing world in which the solid form of Roland King passes through with confidence. 

Mark Millar shows he can do intimacy as well as he can do blockbuster battles and by giving us the most emotionally charged issue so far, he brings the curtain down on this series with a cinematic flourish. The kind of ending that pleases the fans of action as well as the fans of more heart-felt dramas. This has it all. And, hats off to Millar for veering away from the kind of sentimentality so often associated with these kind of stories. A final, friendly family reunion? Forget it. 

King of Spies #4 sees King shaken, stirred and surrounded. But, with decades of spying flowing through his veins, this old, grizzled dog can bite.

King of Spies #4 is out Wednesday 7th March from Image Comics 

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