Continuing on from issue three, this article needs a disclaimer.
If you have right wing views, support the Donald and/or Brexit, read the Daily Mail or Telegraph, are a royalist or partake of all of the above, then do not buy this comic. It will upset you.
Also, do not read this review as that will upset you as well. I thank you for your time and consideration and hope that you will read my other reviews at some point.
Written by John Farman
Art by John Howard
Published by Vital Publishing
For those that want a precis of what has gone before, you can look at my review of Issue Three, way back in April 2015.
This issue continues the carnage and adds a bit more in-depth examination to the Royal Descent Universe. Almost half of the 50 contestants that are engaged in a “to the death” gladiatorial contest are dead either by their own hand or by the hand of those closest to them.
The interesting part for me is that when I began to read this serial, it felt so remote, so dystopian that there was no chance of it ever happening. However, the events of 2016 have changed this tale of gore and sticking two fingers up at the British Establishment to a worryingly prophetic tale that has every chance of coming to pass. And if that is not a worrying comment on how our society is changing, I don’t know what is.
The plot rattles on at a decent pace and John Howard’s art is one of those styles that evolves gently and it is only when you compare his work over a 5 year period that you notice how much his style has changed.
Overall, this is the issue that makes you want to track down the previous three to find out what is going on and to pre-order the next four so you know where it is going to end up.
The only bad part of the serial is the gap between issues and while I know that Vital Publishing is a small firm, it is hard to remember where the plot has got to when the last episode you read was almost two years ago. However, I am glad to say that this is being resolved and give an exclusive notification that the trade paperback for issues 1 to 3 will be available to purchase at Edinburgh Comic Con in April.
• To see more of their comics, you can find Vital Publishing on Facebook
• For a look at more of John Howard’s work go to John Howard’s website