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‘The Secret Land #4:’ Advance Comic Book Review

I want to start by saying that this book surprised me. I wasn’t supposed to review it, but I thought that I’d give the series a try, and I’m genuinely glad that I did. I feel like some of the better / best experiences I’ve ever had have been to allow myself to reach outside of the grab bag of things I know I’ll enjoy. The irony is that this falls right in the milieu.

You have a Cthulu-esque romance set just after WWII. The great thing is that the romance feels unspoiled by the cynicism of now, like it’s right out of that era of films. Destiny and love will keep them together. The Cthulu elements are also really well done. How does love hold up to the Cthulu-like madness? I guess you’ll have to read issue four.

Needless to say, no one can escape the madness unsinged. There are a lot of ideas in the melting pot here. Is it really the madness driving these characters to take certain actions or was it already in them to begin with? I like that. I love a lot of what this comic does and accomplishes. My only thought is that it could have taken it further.

I feel like this should have been a 5-issue series to push the characters and the ideas into the darker natures of who they are. A few times we’re left with the narration telling us something rather than the story showing it. It’s fine, and it does its job to move the story along, but I also feel like it allows the creators to pull their punches a little. Do our romantic leads really do anything that I’d call problematic? Not terribly. Does the madness push them to become something they aren’t? Not really. But somehow, it still works. And the final moments of the book still leave an imprint even though what happens exactly is a little muddy—like the rules aren’t quite clear enough for an action to resonate, but we believe the narration when it tells us what happened, and the idea of it is somehow enough.

The need for untarnished romance, unfettered love and connectivity to another, is probably strong and resonates because of the lockdown that most of the world experienced. It’s very easy to connect with that on a purely emotional level, so even when the story elements aren’t quite there, the emotionality of it all, the big ideas in place, pull us along. And I really did love the demon in this. A nice cherry on top.

True love versus Nazis and otherworldly terrors — what else could a grown boy ask for?

Creative Team: Christofer Emgård (writer), Tomás Aira (art), Mauro Mantella (lettering), Dave Arshall (editor), Konner Nnudsen (assistant editor), Skyler Weissenfluh (designer), Adam Pruett (digital art technician)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Click here to purchase.

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor



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