Published on August 15th, 2018 | by Dana Folkard
WITCHFINDER: THE GATES OF HEAVEN #4 REVIEW
Summary: The investigation continues, leading Grey and company closer to Aldous Middengard Sinclair.
The investigation continues, as Grey recruits’ new allies to help in the hunt for Aldous Middengard Sinclair. Their search leads them to the house of Amelia Ashton, an engineer who was working close with Aldous in his research.
This issue begins where the previous one finished, with Grey and company coming face-to-face with the giant monster that has risen from the Thames. This monstrous salamander-like creature proves to be quite the challenge, putting up a goof fight for Grey and his companions. Thanks to the selfless bravery of the old Professor, the creature is injured and flees back into the dark depths of the river, leaving the Professor mortally wounded. With the loss of their mentor, Bruttenholm and Grant insist on joining Grey in helping to find Aldous, the man they blame for the death of the Professor. Grey accepts their help and with their combined minds, quickly finds the location of Amelia Ashton, an engineer who worked closely alongside Aldous. The trail leads them to the Isle of Dogs, a stone’s throw from the Foundry, however, their efforts may be in vain, as Aldous enacts the next phase of his masterplan.
The swashbuckling nature of this issue is fast-paced and exciting, delivering a hearty dose of thrilling action in true Mignolaverse style. I’ve always loved seeing Grey with guns blazing, as I find it to be a pleasant contrast to his regular demeanour and a nice reminder that Grey will do anything to defend his country and Queen. a lot happens in this issue, with new developments unfolding at a rapid rate. I really enjoy this intense fast-pacing, as it helps to heightens the drama of the story, whilst adding to the punchy delivery and timing of the narrative. There is also a growing sense of desperation building in this issue, as time is quickly running out and the odds are stacked heavily against Grey and his new friends.
I also enjoyed the interesting interaction between Grey and his new companions – Bruttenholm and Grant – concerning women in the workforce. This for me was a curious little insight into the mind of Grey and some of his political opinions regarding the rise and equality of women entering the workforce. We need to remember that these events are unfolding during the 19th century, a time of cultural, industrial, political and social change. Society and the role of women is slowly beginning to change, however, many of the thoughts and opinions of men aren’t, so even though I was a little taken aback by Grey’s reaction, I really shouldn’t be surprised in the end…just a little disappointed.
Visually, this issue is diverse and exciting, with D’Israeli bringing his rambunctious and highly-animated flare for capturing action. The opening scene is punchy and lively, with Grey being lucky to escape without another scar to add to the collection. I thought the salamander monster was excellent, and I especially loved how its arms have arms…gross. For me, D’Israeli’s art style perfectly suits this Victorian setting, with a dark and atmospheric sense of light that is set-off from the use of heavy block inking. It helps to heighten the overall ambience and spookiness that we’d come accustomed to seeing in classic horror stories. Michelle Madsen’s colouring is subtle and somewhat delicate, however, we do see vibrant clashes of colour during the opening fight sequence, which I found to be vivid and eye-catching.
Overall, I thought that this was a thrilling chapter in this tale. Things are progressing at a rapid pace and the cliff-hanger at the end of this issue has me excited for #5!
I’m giving this issue 4.6 out of 5 stars!
CREATIVE TEAM: Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson, D’Israeli and Michelle Madsen
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
PUBLICATION DATE: August 15, 2018
REVIEWER: Dana Folkard