Advance Review: An Epic Conclusion To `Step By Bloody Step’ #4
by Tom Smithyman
Artist Matias Bergara again shines in the conclusion of this textless tale of a young girl and her giant protector. His artwork forces readers to concentrate on each panel – and we are richer for doing so.
While great stories are rare, great endings are even more difficult to find. Sticking the landing means the difference between an instant classic and a promising tale that never lived up to its potential.
Luckily for readers of Step By Bloody Step, writer Si Spurrier and artist Matias Bergara deliver once again. In doing so, they have delivered what is easily one of the best stories of the year.
By itself, that’s quite an accomplishment. But to do it without relying on text is extraordinary – and a testament to the creative ability of these storytellers. While giving too much of the plot away would spoil the tale, the final issue in this limited series is filled with emotion, drama, loss, penance and redemption, with a little time travel and rebirth for good measure. You’ll forgive that the ultimate ending is telegraphed a bit, because in this case, getting there really is half the fun.
While the tale that Spurrier plots is a great one, it has taken Bergara’s masterful depictions to make the story come alive on the page. After all, readers are left to interpret each panel, forcing them to find the meaning instead of it being spoon-fed by an all-knowing narrator. That makes this story uniquely personal.
Bergara’s gift is showing each character’s emotions, ranging from curiosity to determination to rage while also telling the larger story in a clear, concise way. It’s no small task, but he comes through again and again in this series. How neither he nor the book were nominated for an Eisner Award is a mystery.
Awards or not, Step By Bloody Step has claimed its place as not only as a great comic book series, but a great work of art.
Step By Bloody Step #4 will be available for purchase on June 4, 2022.