blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Mamo (2021) #4

Mamo  4While it’s the worst issue of Mamo, it’s still a great comic. Creator Sas Milledge just doesn’t seem to have enough story for it and stretches. Orla and Jo deal with last issue’s cliffhanger, with Orla abandoning Jo and the crow. Except the crow seemed to have already left the girls. Jo can’t go after Orla because Orla took her bike (Jo’s), so Jo heads home. On the way, the crow asks why she isn’t going to Orla because the story’s obviously not at home; it’s with Orla.

It’s a lot of talking—and it’s not disposable exposition either; between Orla’s monologuing and the crow’s monologuing, we start to get a clearer picture of how witchy inheritance works. Unfortunately, we don’t get any substantial information about Orla—except when we find out she and Mamo’s family problems might be less about witch stuff than we thought—just more delays. Presumably, until next issue. Jo asks some direct questions, and Orla brushes them off, but they can’t go unaddressed forever.

And not with Orla going home instead of going to the rest of the comic.

Milledge also takes a faster pace, which is good visually (just never serene like the previous issues) and probably reads better in the trade. Definitely reads better in the trade; you’d get the resolution instead of another cliffhanger. But the issue story doesn’t match that faster pace; it’s just the monologuing, whether it’s Orla telling Jo she’s not going to tell Jo what Jo wants to know, Orla telling her cat things, or the crow narrating about Orla to Jo over Orla’s panels.

The dialogue requires a startling amount of attention. On the one hand, Milledge trusts the heck out of the reader to get it all. On the other, it’s a lot for relatively little. Especially if next issue delivers all the explanations we’re not getting here.

The character development’s also on hold. Jo because she’s sidelined and letting the crow run her scenes, and Orla because we’re finding out just what was so wrong with Mamo’s child-rearing. It’s a very heavy reveal, though it also feels like Milledge has got the other shoe to drop next issue.

While technically a disappointment—again, it’s a good comic, just the worst Mamo, and I’m sure it’s fine in trade—it’s still a success.

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