Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo continue to mine the forgotten corners of the past Marvel Universe, digging up even more obscure characters to blend together in “Weirdworld” #4. In this penultimate chapter of arguably the best “Secret Wars” tie-in, Aaron revels in pinpointing the most overlooked characters in Marvel history and finding a way to work them into his story, and this may very well be the best execution of that so far. As if working on a dare, Aaron imagines Arkon going up against Skull the Slayer. The end result is unpredictably brilliant, with Del Mundo taking the challenge and executing it beautifully.
On the first page, a hallucinating Arkon himself muses, “I see it. In all its golden splendor. Just before my eyes melt out of my face.” His thoughts are in reference to his lost city Polemachus, but those words could very well be the readers’ own after beholding Del Mundo’s stunning, dreamlike two-page depiction. The next page is a literal punch in the face, as Del Mundo revels in the brutality of Arkon’s torture, which his art captures with the same vivid starkness, although with a much different effect.
The end of last issue foreshadowed the return of the Man-Thing, and several of them appear here. Del Mundo’s cover also showcases the creature’s return with a beautifully symbolic depiction against a black background. Later in the issue, another spread reveals what a swamp full of Man-Things looks like; Del Mundo’s monsters are faithful to Gray Morrow’s original design, which has largely gone unchanged for the past forty or so years, yet Del Mundo adds an even more hulking, monstrous and even sinister touch to his interpretation. His renditions alone are enough to make readers wonder why Man-Thing ever fell into such obscurity.
As impossible as it may seem, both Aaron’s script and Del Mundo’s illustrations only get stronger as the issue progresses, culminating in a brilliantly paced and structured lead-in to the arc’s literal cliffhanger. Both creators seemingly feed off each other, throughout this issue as well as the series, making for a story that only gets better and better. “Weirdworld” #4 is nothing short of comic book perfection.