Minor Threats #4 Review
The death of Kid Dusk, sidekick to premier crime-fighter the Insomniac, turns life in Twilight City on its head. Lesser criminals unite to take down the Stickman, the murderer who sees the city as a stage in which he orchestrates a symphony of poetic slaughter and destruction. Meanwhile, the Insomniac’s fellow superheroes—collectively known as the Continuum–turn the city into a police state. Over-the-top violence and haunting pathos fill the final chapter of this brash new series. Let’s jump into Minor Threats #4!
Writers Patton Oswalt and Jordan Blum remind us that a code of morality and loyalty must exist among criminals. Otherwise, there would be no need for law enforcement, as the villains would end up destroying each other. That proves the case here, as a betrayal by one member has led to the Minor Threat’s capture by the Stickman. With their very bodies booby-trapped, the supervillain sends them on a mission. Can the Minor Threats avoid getting blown up, turn the tables on the Stickman, and halt the Continuum’s Reign of Order?
Oswalt and Blum keep the spotlight on the Minor Threats in this issue, with the Continuum mostly relegated to the background. Even Insomniac, the superhero whose grief has turned psychotic, only makes an appearance at the end. While the opening reminiscences may make readers suspect who betrayed them, the revelation nonetheless comes as a surprise to the team. There’s a healthy dose of black comedy in this final issue. This Golden Age Heroes Gone Wrong story feels like the 1960s Batman TV series filmed not for family-friendly laughs, but in the style of The Watchmen. What makes this story even more shocking is the breathless pace of this four-issue series, which all takes place within one day.
Readers will find the storybook quality of Scott Hepburn’s art jarring yet whimsical. Ian Herring’s strong colors enhance Hepburn’s portrayal of a classic superhero world turned toxic. The brutal action and graphic violence in Minor Threats #4 is likely many times more outrageous than anything members of the Senate Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency ever saw in 1954.
Is it ironic that the Minor Threats continually refer to the Code that supposedly guides them? Is it strange that these villains seem more dedicated to following their Code than their superhero counterparts? Is it weird that the Dream Cavern, the Insomniac hidden lair, is filled with mushrooms, and a large fish tank reminiscent of James Bond megalomaniacs like Doctor No and Karl Stromberg? Much to muse upon, and delight in, can be found in Hepburn and Herring’s art.
Minor Threats #4 delivers a brash and bracing story filled with whimsy and humor. The dark satire, filled with inventive over-the-top plot elements, will keep Mature readers delighted from beginning to end. Readers seeking kinder, gentler, stories—along with crusading book burners and social reformers—should look elsewhere for their next superhero fix.9/10
* This article was originally published here