Written by Kurt Busiek
Art by Benjamin Dewey, Jordie Bellaire
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: February 18, 2015

Everything is still up in the air and hope is still being placed in the Champion…but should it be? And can he hope to succeed in the face of all the people vying for power?

Kurt Busiek is doing with a fantastic job with this story of making it whimsical without being a joke, grim without being hopeless, and epic fantasy without having it be bogged down in historical references and constant world building that detracts from the story and individual characters. Easy to do? Hell no, it isn’t, but Busiek makes it look easy through his use of clever dialogue, strong pacing and very unique story structure. The dichotomy that exists between the Champion and the rest of what is left of society is fantastic, and his interactions with Dusty are excellent in this issue. Dusty’s innocence is a wonderful thing and through his eyes I find wonderment for this entire world that is being built in this series. It’s obviously a huge, expansive place and we are slowly getting more information about the society and the Learoyd, but how Busiek lets this information flow through Dusty is fantastic. He’s an integral piece of this story that I find more charming by the page, and at the end of each issue I find myself with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge about this world. One issue a month just isn’t enough….

And as much as Kurt Busiek’s writing is drawing me into The Autumnlands, the dynamic art team of Benjamin Dewey and Jordie Bellaire astound me with each page flip. Dewey’s pencils are fantastic and he is doing a great job of giving this huge world life while also keeping singular character’s personalities on display. This issue features vast, flowing plains and a massive cast, but the smile on Dusty’s face is truly heartwarming at times. Learoyd’s tough demeanor shines through in every panel he’s in, though you inherently feel like you can trust this character…and that’s all on Dewey’s strong pencil work. Jordie Bellaire’s lush colours give this world a vibrant amount of life, and warmth radiates from the plains. She and Dewey work very well together to craft some beautiful splash pages and the range this pair has shown in this series so far astounds me. This issue is as well crafted as any have been, and I am fully immersed (and enjoying) every second of The Autumnlands.

The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #4 is a fantasy epic in all the best ways, with fantastic characters, a rock solid plot and brilliant artwork. This is what happens when talented people get together and their skill sets click, and it’s a magical thing. I cannot wait to read the next issue, this book is totally my jam and fills a void in my reading I never knew I had until it was released.

The Verdict: 10/10


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