Published on January 24th, 2018 | by Dana Folkard
MAESTROS #4 REVIEW
Summary: Desperate times call for desperate measures.
An insightful issue
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Willy is forced to travel to the Underworld city of Evuntayd, in the hope of forming an alliance with his father’s greatest enemy.
Maestros #4 begins with a flashback, exploring Willy’s past when he was working as an assassin for his father. Princess Zeela, daughter of the ruler of the Underworld and Meethra’s greatest enemy, is cornered and surrounded by Willy and a group of assassins after flying her dragon too close to the Meethra’s border. Willy is being coerced into killing Zeela, so that he may prove his loyalty and devotion to his father, however, he refuses to do so and instead turns and kills his father’s men. Zeela is grateful and offers Willy sanctuary in the Underworld, where his father cannot reach him. He declines her offer, fearing what Meethra will do to his mother in his absence, instead deciding to face the consequences of his actions. Unfortunately, the consequences involve a dinner party, where impalement is on the menu. Naked, impaled and displayed in front of the court, Willy hangs there semi-conscious, clinging to life. His mother Margaret is enraged, wishing to fight for her son’s life and demanding their freedom. A challenge is agreed upon, where Margaret must survive passing through the Valley of Woe. She demands a weapon, whereupon she calls forth the Back Stabber. Surviving the trial, her and Willy are granted amnesty and sent into exile.
We also see events unfold in the present, where Willy and his companions have travelled to the Underworld city of Evuntayd, where he hopes to form an alliance with the demon kind. Desperately hoping that his act of mercy in the past towards Princess Zeela will help to foster a new relationship with the king. Unfortunately for Willy, things don’t go so smoothly, as he soon discovers that the Underworld is a hostile place that detests outsiders and loves to gobble delectable humans.
Things are looking pretty grim for Willy, Wren and Margaret, as they are forced into forming an alliance with the demons of the Underworld. I’m super excited about this place filled with trolls, goblins, orcs, demons, vampires and all manner of monsters inspired from hell mythology. It’ll be interesting to see how things will unfold for Willy in Evuntayd in the next issue, as it’s not looking so great right now. I also enjoyed seeing the past events and how they have influenced and changed both Willy’s and Margaret’s lives. You really get the sense through these flashbacks that Meethra was an unforgiving and ruthless ruler, treating his son and wife like property, rather than family that he loved. I get the feeling Meethra loved Margaret in his own weird and destructive way, but his possessiveness and brutality towards them was having highly detrimental effects on Willy and Margaret. Their emancipation through Margaret’s selfless sacrifice came at a high cost for them both, however, it was still better than the hell they were experiencing before beforehand.
The art is once again detailed, diverse and absolutely epic. My favourite part in this issue were the scenes set in the Underworld, where we see Willy walking through the city markets. There is one scene in particular, involving a butcher selling dismembered human meat that I absolutely loved. Steve Skroce’s art is filled with meticulous linework that really brings a whole new level of detail to this world, especially to those moments where we see grotesque and obscene things occurring. I also love seeing all of the weird and wonderful monstrosities that Skroce creates, making it feel like a diverse and eclectic world.Overall, I find it to be highly immersive and an enjoyable ride to be on, as we are taken on an epic visual quest. Dave Stewart’s colouring works wonderfully alongside the art in helping to heighten the overall energy and vibrancy of the art. I like how there is a lot of colour in this world, yet it is muted and toned down, so as to not become too garish or bright. This world really does feel alien, and you get a sense of this strangeness and otherworldly quality through the combination of the colouring and art.
Overall, I thought this to be an insightful issue that exposed a lot about Willy and Margaret’s past. I found it to be a slower-paced issue that really focused on important and revealing details that will help us to fully grasp how these characters have changed. I’m loving the new location and next phase in their journey and I can’t wait until the next issue comes out, so I can see what the hell Willy is going to do next.
I’m giving this issue 4.5 out of 5 stars!
CREATIVE TEAM: Steve Skroce and Dave Stewart
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
PUBLICATION DATE: January 24, 2018
REVIEWER: Dana Folkard