The quest for the crown and the scepter continues as the greatest thief is brought into the fray…again?
Previously in Worldscape: Kyra the cleric and her allies Valeros, Merisiel, and Seoni nd themselves transported to the Worldscape—a deadly dimension that imprisons the greatest warriors of Golarion, Barsoom, and Earth! To make matters worse, each has appeared far removed from one another, and must ght to survive without their usual allies. Kyra nds herself in the polyglot city of Shareen at the heart of the Worldscape, where death lurks at every corner, and allies of strong character are in short supply… – via Dynamite Entertainment
Apparently, the worlds of Earth, Barsoom, and Golarion have merged in a different reality, and those heroes and villains are fighting to find two magical items to unite, destroy, or return everyone from where they came. In this installment, readers are introduced to Meris, an elf thief who is brought to Worldscape to help steal the aforementioned items. Being only slightly aware of elements from the previous issues, I don’t know if Meris is supposed to be Merisiel, or not. It’s a bit confusing to be honest, especially since there are multiple versions of characters in the various dimensions.
In the course of one issue, not only do readers get a very broad overview of what is going on, but Meris and her new friends/employers fight through every trap and monster known, steal the scepter, and fall in love. This literally happens in the blink of an eye, as we discover time doesn’t work the same in the “real” world as it does in Worldscape.
While the high concept of the story works rather well, the execution is a mess to say the least. The most interesting parts of the story gets a four page sequence (three because of the double page spread), while elements readers should already know (because they’ve read the other books) get drawn out to include details that are not needed. Even if you haven’t read previous issues, the explanation seems longer than necessary. At no point do you get a sense of danger or adventure, and character relationships between Meris and Phondari are forced to the point it is laughable.
Jonathan Lau is a favorite Dynamite artist of mine. His work is instantly recognizable, and because he has worked across a number of books that also connect to this Worldscape event, it feels like there is some visual continuity coming in to the series. Lau knows how to draw characters of different species and races, and makes it all seem so natural on the page. His jungle work (where most of this issue takes place) looks great, and the battle sequence is fantastic. The two page spread is probably the best of the issue. If you are looking for a butt shot or two, or a nekkid lady emerging from a bath (tastefully of course), then Lau has you covered, so to speak.
Coloring is still a problem for me in Dynamite books. The blacks get really black, creating an overall high contrast look to the issue. While this works to help separate characters from the background, it does tend to muck up panels and sequence that take place in a darker environment.
BOTTOM LINE: PASS FOR ME
Pathfinder: Worldscape #4 is not a great jumping on point, even though all of the elements to catch readers up are there. Exposition doesn’t really move the story forward except for the acquisition of one magical item. While that may seem like a big deal for the overall story, there is no sense of importance or worth conveyed to the reader. The art is fine, and in line with what one expects from Dynamite Entertainment, I just wish the story was more engaging.