Some stories are themselves about stories. “Trinkets,” written by Jody Houser and with art by Sally Thompson and Kathryn Layno, is one of these layered narratives. A thief breaks into a museum to steal valuables and comes across a talking mask with a tale to tell. Houser establishes a wonderful banter between the thief and the mask as they converse and tell stories, each in their one way. Thompson and Layno each take one part of the story's art, the thief and the mask and the story the mask tells. This back and forth works almost seamlessly, and the artists' individual styles work great for their respective halves. The story within the tale has an almost fairytale style compared to the sleeker look of the thief and mask's tale set later in time. About the only thing I'm not a fan of in this story is the mask's puke green-colored dialogue balloons, which makes me think of it as less an ancient, magical trinket and more as a monstrous, cursed item, which doesn't seem to be the mask's way at all.
“The Smell of Sunshine,” written by Devin Grayson and with art by Lindsay Walker and Ronda Pattison, is a strange entry in the Womanthology series, as it almost entirely focuses on male characters. Lieutenant Commander MacShay is being interrogated about what occurred on the starship Atreideus after he is found to be the sole survivor. This story is subtle in a lot of what it does, and I'd say what tale it's actually telling is material for a decent debate. The art in this entry is solid, with a lot of subtle expressions and movements being used and some neat designs for the setting, which is a blend of classic sci-fi elements and modern-day designs in a pretty believable style.
Womanthology: Space #4 ends with a morality tale in “Drift,” written by Christine Ellis and drawn by Elva Wang. As an enterprising starship and her crew come across and bring aboard a floating body, they get more than they bargained for. This tale is fast paced and to the point as events escalate quickly with an end that sucker punched me with all the meanings it had. I'm not the biggest fan of Wang's art, which has a blurry and non-defined style that I just couldn't get into, although I did dig some of her setting designs, including one character's pilot chair/futuristic wheelchair rig that looks incredibly awesome.
For those artists among you, Lois Van Baarle handles the “How To” pieces this time around, this issue's topic is “Making an Atmosphere Digital Painting.” The pinup art section includes a gorgeous piece by Catherine Miller that's like a living constellation with a beautiful blend of space and mythology themes, and Christianne Benedict closes out this issue with a one-page comic that wraps up the theme of the issue perfectly and asks an important question of readers as it closes.