Amid the chaos happening in the wider universe, it is always nice when the story can settle down. DC: Mech #4 does it’s best to bring the narrative closer to home before things get far worse.
At this point in the monomyth, the characters go through a period of self reflection. After Kal-El crashes into the Kent Farm, he spends his time recuperating his body and spirit. Which is just code for eating breakfast and getting some needed advice. It is refreshing to see Superman in a more familiar down home country setting. Grounding the arrogant space alien with parental figures was just what readers needed to reconnect with the troubled protagonist. Although Kal is struggling with a place to fit in, Johnathan and Martha make sure to instill him with a sense of belonging and faith in humanity. My only nitpick is that they bond with Clark for an unknown amount of time off-panel.
Additionally, the issue also resurrects its argument on xenophobia. Most of the protagonists have lost someone they loved to extraterrestrials. Both Barry Allen and Bruce’s parents all pass away in attacks from UFOs. Even as recent as last issue, Wonder Woman lost her friend Steve Trevor to the actions of Kalibak and Kal-El. With distrust growing for non-terrestrial beings, a group of angry pundits and protesters have formed. In particular, a bigot in a red cap tracks down the Superman and organizes a surprise assault. I got a kick out of the idiots screwing around with a random tractor-style mech cannon. Despite this adversity, Kal-El grows into the positive example that Superman should represent. You won’t always change someone’s mind, but you should always present your best selves.
Unsurprisingly, the artwork is the bomb so to speak. This new issue only features a single new Rivas mech design. While the exact design is a spoiler, it directly fuses a previous mech design with the look of the Parademon bio-weapons. It is good to know that despite the more serious tone of the chapter, that we can still cut to a massively goofy reveal. One of my favorite panels is of Kal stashing his Kryptonian robot in the barn as a direct reference to The Iron Giant (1999). While not exactly mechs, Rivas also creates a mysterious multi-eyed Brother Eye and squid-like saucers. The appearance of Barry Allen in a flashback is a pretty cool part of that sequence as well. DC: Mech never fails to add some much needed action scenes bursting off the pages.
Speaking of Brother Eye, it has become increasingly apparent that Lex Luthor is untrustworthy in whatever universe we visit. Kenny Porter doesn’t even try to hide how shady he is. I’m curious how far the mustache twirling will go unnoticed by most of the heroes who aren’t named Batman. In fact, Batman might be the only one with a significant agenda against Luthor outside of the late Captain Trevor. Even his mentor Hawkgirl and the government haven’t made a move on Luthor. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not buying their unawareness about whatever is happening with him.
- You were looking for the heart in DC: Mech.
- Attracted to zany well drawn robot battles.
- You read issues 1-3 and you can’t seem to stop buying the next issue.
It is good to get a slower paced story every now and then. I’m a sucker for the ole’ drop a hero into the Kent Barn to be nursed back to health story. Dark Knights of Steel did it with Batman. With my heart sufficiently warmed by the purity in the writing and artwork, I don’t have very many complaints. Whereas the previous issue made a lot of the cast unlikable, I enjoyed how they all shared more of their true selves. Their relationships with their legacy or parental figures made for a good connective theme, and will go a long way in endearing us to the Justice League when the battle with Darkseid begins.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News a free copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.