Eric's Comic Review: Days Missing: Kestus #4
Days Missing: Kestus #4 delves deeper into the mysterious, new immortal lady from The Steward's past (Or is it pasts?) that can remember the events he has changed. Beginning New Years Eve 1999, the comic also gives some fictional consolation to those who stocked up on supplies for the Apocalypse that never happened.
Kestus is a great foil for The Steward, who can come off as sanctimonious at times. This is well explored int the language of the characters. The latter tends to go off into philosophical soliloquies about times past. He's a man of contemplation and sentiment. The former is a quick witted and cynical,but not completely jaded. She's a creature of the present with a bent toward action (She doesn't have the luxury of rewind like her immortal counterpart.). The character gets some extra points for depth. This comic looks at humanity from a macro perspective with entities that can control the sway of world events. It reminded me of one of my favorite passages in T.H. White's The Book of Merlin in which King Arthur basically states that during our worst, ignorant moments we display our best qualities. Through the atrocities of war we find bravery with the “rare and obstinate decency that makes writers or scientists maintain their truths at the risk of death.” This issue shows a move within Kestus to embrace that complex paradox. The modern setting (in a series that can take place at literally any time) gives some perspective on her growth through well told flashbacks. The only problem here is that the guest character tends to overshadow the principal.
This dynamic presents itself as well in the art as she is shown in the foreground of most of the panels with The Steward standing in the back. In theater, this is referred to as upstaging and the main protagonist of the entire series comes off as a little weak as a result. Kestus is a portrayed with a lot of gusto, though, so many won't mind this at all.
David Marquez's art is very clean within these pages. The faces convey the emotions they need to with some good detail on Kestus's demeanor change as she transitions from flashbacks to modern times. One can see that the character has lightened up a bit as she has gained some enlightenment. He achieves an ageless quality for The Steward that works well.
One more thing that I enjoyed about this issue that many modern comics fail to do is that it tells a self-contained story. Yes, more information about the histories of the characters would help to make it a more fulfilling experience, but a person seeing the excellent cover by David Mack and pulling it from a shelf will not feel like they've wasted his/her hard earned cash on something incomplete. While arc storytelling helps to give greater detail to everything, it's also beneficial to have exposition and closure with each chapter to be inclusive to the late comers.
This is a good issue which fans and newcomers alike can enjoy. Kestus is a complex and exciting character that Phil Hester risks becoming more interesting than The Steward. The gamble primarily pays off with a solid offering.
Story: Phil Hester
Art: David Marquez
Cover: David Mack
32 PAGES / FC
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