[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Lady Freyja has captured the Black Bifrost Bridge on Svartalfheim and has sent She-Hulk, Blade, Ghost Rider, and the Punisher to build a coalition among the Ten Realms to strike back against Malekith. Meanwhile, Captain America and his Jotunheim team have found Thor and are bringing him back to Midgard. Black Panther is defending Avengers’ Mountain from the Frost Giants and Fire Goblin. However, Malekith has captured Venom, and it looks like Freyja may die holding the Black Bifrost.
War of the Realms #4 marks a turning point in the conflict. Freyja taking the Black Bifrost gives the heroes of Midgard a chance to get reinforcements, and Thor is finally back in the fight.
It does somewhat hilariously make the Strikeforce comics feel superfluous to the main story. Land of Giants isn’t even out yet, and this issue shows how that one ends (not that it was ever in doubt, I suppose).
There is a pretty awesome final blowout in Svartalfheim of which I won’t spoil the specifics, but it carries the back half of this comic to a bombastic finish. There are more casualties, but they aren’t deaths we haven’t seen before.
It is weird that Punisher, Blade, Venom, and Ghost Rider are such central figures in this story, but I honestly like all four of those characters–so I can’t really complain.
Malekith really is a top-tier villain under Jason Aaron’s writing. Even though he doesn’t show up as much as one would expect in this story, each scene with the Dark Elf warlord is a treat.
Russell Dauterman’s artwork continues to be of an epic style and quality well-suited to this mythic apocalyptic war. His rendition of the Punisher in particular is quite impressive, though there are plenty of other characters that get great visual treatments in this book. Matthew Wilson tops it all with a phenomenal color palette which gives this book the ominous yet fantastical tone it needs.
War of the Realms #4 still reads a little scattershot at times, but, when the narrative is focused, it gives the reader a worthwhile story showing us the struggles of Marvel’s heroes against a godlike army. Plus, Dauterman and Wilson’s artwork is worth the price of admission alone. This one is worth a recommendation. Feel free to check it out.
War of the Realms #4 comes to us from writer Jason Aaron, artist Russell Dauterman, color artist Matthew Wilson, letterer VC’s Joe Sabino, cover artist Arthur Adams with Matthew Wilson, and variant cover artists Giuseppe Camuncoli with Elia Bonetti; Greg Hildebrandt; Victor Hugo; Aaron Kuder with Matthew Wilson; Max Limm; Billy Tan and Haining of Tan Comics; and Edgar Delgado with Mike Hawthorne.