Review: Masks #4

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With the law twisted and perverted to benefit the unjust, those who serve justice have no choice but to operate outside the law. The Spider digs into the shadowy past of the new governor, but what he finds raises more questions than it answers. Back in New York City, the Shadow and Green Hornet are marshaling their forces, as vigilantes and heroes like the Green Lama, Miss Fury, and the Black Terror join their cause. Meanwhile, a blind lawyer and a fugitive artist find themselves standing alone against the might of the Black Legions.

Dynamite’s wildly successful pulp heroes team-up continues this month in Masks #4, the halfway point of the crossover event. The story is written by Chris Roberson with art by Dennis Calero. Alex Ross provides art direction with Simon Bowland handling lettering. I’ve been really impressed with Masks so far, so does this issue keep it up or is the midway point the first letdown?

masks coverOur story picks up as our heroes have split off to track down the head of the Justice Party in a couple of different ways. We start off with the Spider leading a one man assault on the governor’s mansion. He thinks he may have just found a lead. The leader of the Justice Party is a mysterious figure who communicates with his lackeys through a special mirror looking device. The Green Hornet and Kato are also making similar progress with their lead. The Green Lama and Miss Fury are still in the concentration camp when Miss Lane and The Shadow pay them a visit. D.A. Quinn, recently blinded in an earlier attack, finds he is gifted with new powers as he is attacked by Justice Party goons.  We see the beginning of the Black Bat. After many issues of teasing, we also get a glimpse of our new Zorro. There’s a lot going on as we switch between story threads, but we start to see who is in control of the Justice Party.

Robinson has written an impressive script for four continuous issues. There’s a lot going on, but each strand is connected and new information is gained with each narrative shift. One of the few complaints that could be laid at the story’s feet is that you don’t have clear identifications on who some of the heroes are. That’s not a big problem, these are characters that have been around for many decades and a quick internet search sets you straight. Calero draws his best issue of the series yet. I’ve had a lot of nitpicky things to say about his art and his close-up shots of faces, but this issue he irons it all out and gives me nothing really to complain about. He draws an absolutely stunning representation of Black Bat’s vision that would put Daredevil to shame. The artists for the upcoming Black Bat ongoing should take notes.

Bottom Line: Masks continues to amaze. There’s a lot that could seem gimmicky and cheesy about a pulp hero team-up, but Robinson has crafted a brilliant story. Calero offers up his best work for the halfway point and gives me high hopes for the remainder of the event. You cannot miss Masks 5/5

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