Advance Review: Art Imitates Life In `The Ward’ #4
by Tom Smithyman
A comic book that features a highly infectious disease forcing victims into quarantine may not the at the top of many readers’ pick lists, given the events of the last few years. It’s a curious way to cap off a series that ultimately celebrates the healthcare workers who look after us.
A highly infectious disease ravages the population. Hospitals are overwhelmed. Healthcare workers are at their breaking point. Meanwhile xenophobia runs rampant.
Art does truly imitate life.
While the circumstances may be a bit different, you can’t help but read the conclusion of this story without thinking about the influences the past few years of pandemic life have had on writer Cavan Scott.
With a screeching epidemic affecting most of the city of Kirton, Dr. Natalie Reeves and her coworkers at St. Lilith’s Hospital are up to their gills in human and preternatural patients that need to be quarantined. To ratchet up the tension – and to make the story hit even closer to home – local politicians get involved and pressures the hospital to find a cure quickly. (At least they aren’t be asked to wear masks.) Add in a racist cult, and you have to wonder if some readers will be turned off because they felt like they’ve already lived part of this “fictional” story.
Until now, the series has given artist Andres Ponce a universe of otherworldly creatures to create. Unfortunately, this time around, he’s confined mainly to human characters, although he has some fun with a troll, who is mistaken for an orc. It’s a shame Ponce didn’t have more to work with in this concluding issue, given his great work in prior installments. (He does show an amazing centaur, which proves to be a highlight of the book.) Even so, his humans look good and clearly convey the emotions he’s trying to get across.
While this issue has all the trappings of an “event” episode that pops up all too often on Grey’s Anatomy or Chicago Med, the story concludes with a sweet tribute to the healthcare workers who sacrifice so much every day. It’s an appropriate bow on an interesting story.
The Ward #4 will be available for purchase next Wednesday, September 7, 2022.