Afraid of what she could have done with Chip's powers, Samantha passes the dangerous alien along to Samir-but Samir has his own plans, and he doesn't share Samantha's reservations.
I want to start this review the way I think this comic should have begun: with a content warning. Alienated #4 deals with self-harm and suicide; as such, this review will be touching on those topics (albeit in as little detail as possible).
The art on this book blows me away every issue, but this time Chris Wildgoose and Andre May outdid themselves. This issue gets dark, and the artwork reflects this. The emotion and anguish are so clear on the panel that, for most of this book, the story could be told by the art alone. The three Sam’s debate what exactly Chip is during this book, but the art makes it clear that whatever he is, he feels pain. Of additional note is the absolutely stunning variant cover by Christian Ward used in this reviews preview.
From issue #1, Samir has been the character with the most mystery. We find out pretty quick about Samantha having a baby, and we know from the beginning about Samuel and his vlog. But Samir remained a mystery despite sharing mind space with the other two. That mystery pays off this issue when Simon Spurrier lays everything dark and painful out for everyone to see.
The narration for this issue was compelling and approached mental health in a way I’ve not seen done often in comics. Samir’s scars (emotional and physical) on display could easily have become performative, but thankfully it didn’t feel that way. Samir’s pain is not a show, nor would I call it what drives the plot forward to the next issue. It is raw and real. His actions born of guilt. His pride at being able to hide from his emotions instead of coping. Even the manipulative and abusive nature of his actions all spring organically and sharp from the very past he tried to avoid until this issue.
The final pages of this issue drive home the impression I’ve gotten since issue #2. The three Sam’s are clearly bond together not just by Chip and their mental connection but also by the emotional turmoil and moral conflicts they carry with them. But as this issue, and especially the last few pages, show not all of their emotional struggles are equal, and none of them respond to moral conflict the same.
Alienated #4 (Spurrier, Wildgoose, & May) is a raw, intentional exploration of a hurt boy lashing out in a way he finally has the power to do. It is a story equal parts provocative and necessary in its reflection of reality.
Alienated #4: Hurt People hurt People
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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