Quick recap: We really get into the Dark Lands, we are introduced to more characters and we finally get to see what the villains are up to.
I have a confession to make: I have never been a fan of fantasy. In fact, the concept of high fantasy is one that squicks me. Save for a few titles and films, it’s not a genre I go to but that doesn’t mean I won’t try my hand at a title. For me, Reborn works because it doesn’t overdo it with the mythology. What I mean by that is that it slowly introduces the reader to a world where goblins, monsters, lava pools and half robot/half skeleton women make sense. I am not overwhelmed with the world by trying to remember names of bodies of water, races, or special elixirs. Millar builds this world up by introducing us to characters and worlds per chapter. In #4, we really get into the Dark Lands.
The Dark Lands is a lovely little place that reminds me of Bartertown and where the mutants from ‘Dark Knight Returns’ hang out.
One of the things that I like about the series is the close relationship between Bonnie and her father. I really like how they casually kill mutant guards, save the prisoners, get double crossed and then get captured without actually worrying too much. For them, encountering strange beings such as General Frost, an anthropomorphic cat and Bonnie’s former classmate who now goes by the name of Ruby (Empress of the Stars and has a penchant for burnt babies), is more of distraction or mild irritant than something that would stop them. They take on each challenge one by one. I guess it helps that you get to bring your prior knowledge into this world to help you navigate the matrix that is Adystria/Dark Lands. In Reborn, Bonnie takes what she knew as a teacher and as someone who lived a long time and applies it to solve her problems very quickly. But that does not mean that Bonnie or her father will breeze by.
I was a little disappointed that General Frost was killed earlier. I really like the idea of a former pet being a recurring character who can cause trouble for our heroine. Frost has his reasons for hating Bonnie: She wanted him castrated. We also learn that Bonnie’s husband, General Frost/Frosty’s owner disagreed. I would have like to have seen some further interaction between the two or maybe have Frost guide Bonnie under the premise of helping her find her husband. We haven’t heard anything about him. Why isn’t Frost with his former owner? Cats are very sly animals. On one hand, I do think that Bonnie making her ‘dark wish’ on Black Wish mountain was a stroke of genius, I feel that it robbed us of a compelling character. How do our pets think of us if we did something for/to them while they lived?
Going back to ‘prior knowledge’, the last of the issue finally introduces us to Golgatha, the big baddie in all this. It turns out that he plans on luring Bonnie to his trap and that she is the key to the doorway to the past. This is emphasized when a henchman asks: “Will this give us access to the world where we came from? Do you think we’ll be able to go back and use all these powers we have been blessed with?” This caption made me ask: “Who were Golgatha’s helpers prior to death? We have seen Bonnie’s former friend become the reclusive Faerie Queen, Frost was a housecat who wanted revenge. Who were the prisoners at the Dark Lands jail really?
I want to finally touch upon Capullo’s art work. The man’s skills with his pencils are scary. From the fear in Bonnie’s eyes, to her father’s cool demeanor in the light of danger to Ruby’s smug looks to Golgatha in a hot bath, he was made for horror. I am even thinking about picking up his Spawn work just because of his name. Jonathan Glapion and Fco Plascencia compliment him beautifully on the art. This is best culminated with the last page which is disturbing yet fascinating on so many levels.
Horror, fantasy, gore, anthros, suspense: Reborn’s got it all!