No, it’s not that movie about The Bed That Eats.  The story of Antonio Luna’s life is even weirder than that…  Your Major Spoilers review of Deathbed #4 awaits!

Deathbed #4 CoverDEATHBED #4

Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colorist: Ivan Plascenscia
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Editor: Amedeo Turturro
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 16, 2018

Previously in Deathbed:  Twenty years ago, the world’s greatest adventure, Antonio Luna, simply disappeared.  Val Richards has been hired to find him and find out where he has gone, but the story of Luna’s missing years is even crazier than anyone might have imagined.  Last month, for instance, Val and Luna were nearly eaten by Luna’s cultish followers.  Val must decide whether it’s worth the story of a lifetime to follow this supposedly-dying maniac on the rest of his quest, especially since the latest clue is a severed human head…

FINDING HIS LOST MEMORIES

This issue opens with Val swearing that she has quit, that she will no longer be a part of the madness of Antonio Luna’s world.  Of course, she’s still traveling with him, even when he explains that by being his biographer, Val is now as big a target for his enemies as Luna himself.  Fortunately, he has a plan to find his lost memories: The Underwater Pleasure Gardens Of Momba.  Specifically, a grotto filled with “memory waters” that allow one to relive their entire life, which the Sirens who protect it use to remain connected to their reality.  Of course, he has to do things a little bit differently, being a human and/or a complete maniac, taking in the psychedelics by being repeatedly stung by the jellyfish in the waters.  Things get worse when the Sirens arrive, what the whole “banning him for life and being perfectly willing to murder him if he returned”, forcing Val to uncharacteristically take action to save him…

“AN UNRELIABLE NARRATOR IN MY OWN LIFE”

After reading last issue thanks the will of the Spoilerites (You, too, can force Stephen and I to Dueling Review books of your choice at Patron.com/MajorSpoilers!), I was taken by how much it stuck with me.  Luna’s story in Deathbed #4 is kind of fascinating, and the revelations about him revealed by the jellyfish toxin add even more depth to the drama.  It’s also interesting to get our first real glimpse inside Val’s head, a moment made even more impressive by Rossmo’s art, with it’s ability to make mundane things dream-life and occasionally horrifying.  Her dream-self is a giant, three-headed, gibbering monster of self-doubt and recriminations, and it’s fascinating to look at.  The design of the entire book is well-realized, giving us alien worlds that are at once recognizable and completely alien, and the ideas that drive this story make it even more fun…

BOTTOM LINE: RECOMMENDED

This book is right up my alley with it’s strange charisma and soul-searching, as well as Rossmo’s cool art, and it could be right up yours as well.  Deathbed #4 is an examination of life and accomplishment and Imposter Syndrome couched as a breakneck science fiction odyssey, with clever story and characterization combining with lovely art to make for a great comic read and 4 out of 5 stars overall.  Plus, we still don’t know whose head that is, so I’m definitely coming back next time…

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About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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