The first half of “Years of Future Past” #4 is on track with the first three issues; we’re getting an exciting and fun story which takes the initial “Days of Future Past” setting and extends it into a new, dangerous saga. However, with two different characters performing sudden turns in the second half of the issue, Marguerite Bennett and Mike Norton’s comic comes across a little rushed.
The first half of the comic is more or less smooth sailing. Bennett and Norton give us the showdown between our heroes and the remnants of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, an apt choice considering that many of them were introduced in “Days of Future Past.” Even the climactic save at the midpoint doesn’t feel out of place; it’s been set up nicely in previous issues and the proverbial cavalry riding in is a moment to cheer.
The sudden revelation of Magneto’s greater goal (to say nothing of the decision that Cameron has after learning this) makes “Years of Future Past” #4 feel a little frantic. Magneto’s betrayal, while not out of place, is both revealed and then dealt with so quickly that it’s hard to properly process it. Cameron’s course of action afterwards feels completely out of the blue, though, as if some greater development might have been put to the side for the sake of expediency. With the rest of the miniseries presumably hanging on this sudden change of plans, that’s a shame, because up until now everything had felt like it was moving along nicely.
Having been a fan of Norton’s art ever since “The Waiting Place,” I’ve got no complaints with the look of “Years of Future Past” #4. The characters all look good and recognizable; Kitty Pryde is undeniably herself while still coming across as older, for example, and the children look like they’re really descended from their parents. The attacks from Magneto are especially well drawn here; Norton uses the effect of having lots of little pieces of metal swirling around the character when he uses his power and, while it no doubt takes a lot of time to draw, I’m glad the effort is put in here. It’s interesting to look at as well as dramatic.
I’ll probably stick through “Years of Future Past” to the conclusion, in part to see if the remaining portion makes Cameron’s actions feel a bit more natural. For the moment, though, it’s a little frustrating. I’d enjoyed the series a lot more up until that point and, while there’s still time for a recovery, it does feel like a big stumbling block to get past.