Mild Spoilers Ahead
We flashback to Mercy questioning Lex Luthor on why he has allied himself with Perpetua and became her Apex Predator. He explains his slaying of the Crime Syndicate, his time with the Justice League, and his vision of the future where humanity rose up and killed the aliens, heroes, and gods that once loomed over them. He wants to create that future and that is why he has allied himself with Perpetua. In the present, Luthor’s new Legion of Doom battles the Batman Who Laughs’ Infected Justice League. Luthor uses the distraction to inject Batman with a serum that stops his Dark Multiverse metal from broadcasting to the Infected–effectively curing them. Lex then brings the Batman Who Laughs before Perpetua herself.
Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #4 brings the mini-series to a close, with the conflict between Apex Lex Luthor and the Batman Who Laughs reaching its crescendo outside the Hall of Justice and at the throne of Perpetua.
We get insight into Luthor’s decision to side with Perpetua and how it fits into his identity. While he may have sided with a god in order to slay gods, that doesn’t mean he accepts Perpetua as his god. He intends to overthrow her too.
We also get to see the Batman Who Laughs humbled, which rarely happens.
The big fight at the Hall of Justice feels overblown when it’s all said and done. All out war between Luthor and the Batman Who Laughs was the main point of this story and that particular showdown at the Hall of Justice was built up. However, it’s over within a couple of pages and we don’t get to see very much of it. Also, the promised Lobo vs Supergirl fight never happens.
While there is something of a conclusion to the mini-series in this comic, it still largely serves as a precursor to Dark Nights: Death Metal. As someone who’s followed these plot threads through Dark Nights: Metal, No Justice, 39 issues of Scott Snyder’s Justice League, all of the Year of the Villain and Infected tie-ins, and now Hell Arisen, my patience with this storyline has run short. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t color my opinion of this issue at least a little. While most of those stories were good, none of them, Dark Knights: Metal excluded, had a genuine ending.
We do get some sweet Steve Epting art out of this comic and I am grateful for that. Epting is one of the modern industry’s absolute best and he shows it in Hell Arisen. His detailing, style, and use of shadow are brilliant and color artist Nick Filardi backs him up with an eerie and atmospheric palette.
Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #4 doesn’t quite live up to its own hype. While there are some good moments, particularly the intro with Lex and Mercy, it falls short of some of its own promises. The battle at the Hall of Justice is a non-event and the comic asks you to follow it through to yet another big DC event if you want to see how it all really ends. I can’t quite say to skip this one, but I can’t quite recommend it either.
Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #4 comes to us from writer James Tynion IV, artist and cover artist Steve Epting, color artist Nick Filardi, letterer Travis Lanham, and variant cover artist Riccardo Federici.
Final Score: 5.5/10