"Magdalena #4" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Top Cow Productions / Image Comics
Written by Tini Howard & Ryan Cady
Illustrated by Christian DiBari
Colored by Mike Spicer
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 28th, 2017
While Patience tracks down the demonic forces behind the recent terror that's cropped up, Maya sits in a jail cell because she stabbed a guy with the Spear of Destiny. Don't worry, he was totally possessed at the time. Patience is injured with a supernatural wound that won't heal, but she's got the Spear in hand and she's not backing down. Although she's faced these kinds of odds before, will her determination and experience be enough to survive?
Things looked pretty grim for Patience throughout this series. She was training Maya as her replacement, as she was injured and having trouble using the Spear. She had accepted that she had already lived longer than most of the previous women in her position and did what she could to help prepare the next generation. It was noble and heartbreaking.
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This is shown tremendously well in Christian DiBari's artwork. Patience is always depicted as strong and confident, even in the face of insurmountable odds. There's a chilling sequence where she's stumbling down an alley, leaving a trail of blood on the wall, not unlike the poster for the movie Sinister. Shadows loom around her like dark apparitions, circling her like vultures waiting for her to die.
This serves as foreshadowing for the real big bad Patience must stop. DiBari draws a boss level demon that's as massive as it is terrifying. It towers over Patience with giant, muscular arms, ending in razor sharp claws. Its face has four eyes and its mouth looks like it opens out to the side to better swallow prey whole. This is the kind of creature that would be rarely described in this world as anyone that sees it doesn't live to tell the tale.
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I know I mentioned similarities to Buffy the Vampire Slayer in my review of the second issue and I'm going to bring it up here again because I see a definite influence. It has that vibe not just of the strong woman kicking demon ass, but the idea of a Chosen One and a power that is passed down. The relationship between Patience and Maya is like that between two slayers. Not quite Buffy and Faith, but if they were sisters working towards a common goal. The supporting characters also contribute to this tone in that they provide comic relief and help remind the heroes of their human qualities, grounding them.
This Magdalena mini-series serves as a re-introduction to the currently dormant Top Cow Universe. We don't have titles like Witchblade or The Darkness, however a book like this serves as a reminder that there's a wealth of otherworldly anti-heroes and villains in this shared space. Some others are name-dropped in this final chapter and it has only drummed up more excitement for additional stories. I certainly hope the creative team gets a chance to share more with Magdalena, as this has been an awesome ride. It's a nice mix of solid drama, strong characters, horrifying monsters, and old-fashioned fisticuffs.