blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Absolution (2022) #4

Absolution  4As I finished reading this issue of Absolution, I realized—despite artist Mike Deodato Jr.’s photo-referencing—the comic hasn’t established who they’re pitching with the lead role. When the creators muse about the adaptation, who’s playing Nina?

Because she’s got some character development this issue—she’s got a love interest in Ann, the street doctor who saved her butt last issue when she got duped by a target. But she’s also on a mission with this issue’s target—a child molester who keeps getting away. As a villain, he’s only slightly different than last issue’s villain, except this guy doesn’t get two issues of setup. But he does get to outsmart Nina, which is basically what all the bad guys (all men) do in Absolution. Of course, they’re smarter than her, but she’s stronger than them, so she wins.

Or she has friends, while they just have goons.

She also starts interacting with the viewers in a more obvious way than ever before, pausing a real-life conversation to reply to a tweet. It’s immediately obvious writer Peter Milligan should’ve been doing them the whole time—it really would’ve helped with the last issue’s setup, too—but it’s also too late at this point. It seems unlikely, as does Nina getting tricked immediately after the last time.

The beginning of the issue makes a surprisingly strong case for Absolution as a procedural. Nina hunts some guy down but still doesn’t get a high enough score; she then Lonely Man hoofs it to the next issue. It’s surprisingly strong partially because, by the end of the issue, it’s clear Milligan only had enough story for four issues and drug the story out to five.

It’s an okay comic. Deodato doesn’t have Nina’s walk down, which only matters now when she’s doing lots of daytime walking, but it’s definitely something he should have done this far into the book. There’s some good, compelling thriller writing from Milligan.

But starting a character development arc in the penultimate issue after shrugging it off when there was actual time? Absolution’s landing roughly.

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