Review: Malik And Richter Face Off In ‘We Only Find Them When They’re Dead’ #4

by Brendan M. Allen

‘The final showdown between Malik and Richter has begun on the surface of the God they’ve discovered. But will Malik survive long enough to find a living God — or has he doomed his crew to an unimaginable fate?’

We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #4 opens up with a montage that pops around the timeline from Malik as a kid seeing his first god, to Alice, floating lifeless in space, having been bested by Richter, back to Malik, older, learning of his parents’ fate and his inheritance. 

With the mood properly set, Al Ewing pulls us back into storyline present, where Malik has some very tough decisions to make. Banking on the fact that Richter (probably) won’t shoot him in the back, he decides to retrieve Alice’s corpse himself. It’s a risky gambit, and his willingness to gamble surprises exactly no one, but neither Richter or the crew of the Vihaan II is ready for Malik’s next move.

Everything about this story has been intense, but this chapter really dials it up. Ewing continues to deliver an incredibly nerve-wracking, high-stakes space Western. This is where we finally learn what it is that Richter’s got against Malik. It’s a doozy. Way bigger than an overzealous rogue agent with an obsession over the local bad boy. 

There are some really great character moments as we learn more about the circumstances that made these two mortal enemies. One way or another, this is a grudge that is likely to resolve very quickly. The way this chapter leaves off, there’s really no way around it.

The art in this series is phenomenal. Simone Di Meo has created an absolutely gorgeous aesthetic that works ridiculously well for this story. This chapter opens up a bunch of opportunities for Di Meo to flex. From the nuanced expressions on the faces of each of the players to the impossible vastness of space, the details are insane.

Man, the cliffhangers have been something else in this series, and this chapter is no different. I can’t express strongly enough how well put together this thing is. At the end of the day, there isn’t really even a lot of forward movement in this chapter, but there is so much information revealed. It’s a genius stroke, really, throwing all this exposition at us, without it ever really feeling forced or awkward.

We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #4, BOOM! Studios, 16 December 2020.

Summary

The final showdown between Malik and Richter has begun on the surface of the God they’ve discovered.

Overall
8.5/10
8.5/10

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

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