Magog #4

Story by
Art by
Howard Porter, John Dell
Colors by
Letters by
Pat Brosseau
Cover by
DC Comics

There's almost certainly a point of some kind to this comic book, but damned if I could find it. The plot seems unimportant as very little happens. The same happens with character development. There is a focus on scenes as nice little pieces of entertainment unto themselves. And the art is ugly and unable or unwilling to move from one image to the next with any sense of flow or logic. "Magog" #4 looks to be a perfect example of a comic published, because that's what DC does: it publishes comics.

Magog, for those who don't know, began as a symbol, not a character. In "Kingdom Come," Mark Waid and Alex Ross created a single character meant to embody all that they saw as being wrong in comics during the '90s, and that was Magog. He was the symbolic opposition to Superman's approach to superheroics and served that function well. But, this being comics, why let the original intention or function get in the way of cramming another character into the universe? Thus, Magog became a part of the regular DCU in the pages of "Justice Society of America" and, now, his own solo title. So, surely, he must display some signs of complexity beyond his appearances in "Kingdom Come" to justify his own comic, right?

Don't bet on it. If Magog actually has a personality beyond the adjective 'gruff,' you won't find it in this comic. Nor does any other character display anything more complex in their portrayals than can be summed up with a single adjective (if that). Magog has surrendered himself to his enemy, which performs genetic experiments, in an effort to get inside of their base without too many hassles. He's in turn interrogated by one of the organization's top minds: a skimpy, leather-clad white-haired woman who speaks like a Valley Girl. Why? Because Keith Giffen finds it funny? He's the only one.

Thrown in is a subplot about Magog's mother and whatever people she represents coming to Earth possibly and Magog being a threat to those plans. Considering that Magog was originally a human marine given powers by the Old God Gog, one has to wonder how he also has a mother of alienation/supernatural origins, but that's a revelation for future issues.

Artistically, Howard Porter's work is what it's always been: rough, unpolished, and devoid of facial expressions beyond his stable of three. That's not helped by the glossy, obviously computer-enhanced coloring that gives the comic a retro look of a decade ago which, if done purposefully, works as a stylistic callback to the character's original intentions. Though, that is doubtful.

"Magog" #4 offers little entertainment value since it is devoid of character development, a plot that engages, and aesthetically-pleasing or technically competent art. When this series was announced, many wondered why oh why DC would publish a Magog comic series. After reading this issue the only answer I can offer is because they can.

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