The rational Wellington has run headlong into a supernatural mystery. Can his logic and discipline compensate for his lack of otherworldly knowledge? Find out in Wellington #4 from IDW Publishing!
Writer: Aaron Mahnke and Delilah S. Dawson
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Colorist: Brad Simpson
Letterer: Valeria Lopez
Editor: Chase Marotz
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 10, 2020
Previously in Wellington: After meeting the otherworldly Minerva, Wellington introduces her to his hostess (Olivia) and wife (Kitty) as his goddaughter. After breakfast, he and Minerva head out to the mine with Sela, leaving Fitz home. Wellington finds the cavern he had seen in his dreams and the women identify the diagram on the floor as a summoning circle – the dead man was trying to summon a demon to bargain with to get his dead wife and child back. Instead, something else came through. A black dog appears and attacks them. After Wellington slashes it across the face, it slips away through a portal. Back home, Fitz has the same wound across his face. That night, Sela holds a séance over the sleeping Fitz. A shadow of the black dog appears briefly. The next morning, Sela is dead.
BACK TO THE MONSTER’S LAIR
Wellington #4 opens with a reminder that the title character is telling us this story as something out of his past which also serves to move the story along. Sela was an old woman with no family. Arthur buries her in the local graveyard as Minerva urges him to focus on defeating the barghest, the monster they are after. He has trouble believing that it could be Fitz, who has been loyal to him for years. A few local men come by and want to do something, like meet at dusk to hunt the barghest down. There is some lovely dialogue between Arthur and Minerva about fear, stupidity, and courage.
Arthur sends Kitty home to be safe but keeps Fitz with him. We see a hint that Olivia may have been more than just an old friend, but this is the 19th century, so it’s no more than a hint. Arthur talks with Fitz. Fitz is hurt, not just from his wound, but from Wellington’s apparent doubt in him. Wellington wants to believe in him, but also wants to keep him safe. It is a conflict in duty as both men see it. It ends with Fitz deciding to go after the beast, whether or not Arthur lets him ride with the group.
He does ride with them. The men (and Minerva) head out after sunset. It is not long before they take off after the first noise they hear to try to surround the barghest, and someone loses a horse in one of the bell pits around the mine. After some chaos, only Arthur and Minvera reach the mine, and it is soon apparent to them that whatever drives them on is striving to split them up too. Arthur hears Fitz’s voice and heads toward him. He hears a noise and shoots, and finds it to be a white rabbit, apparently dead until its eyes open and it hops off into the darkness. Wellington follows, alone.
THE BATTLE BETWEEN TRUST AND FEAR
In Wellington #4, Arthur and Minerva have a running conversation throughout which is complemented by the art. Minerva is not human, but she can appear so when she chooses. We keep seeing the contrast between her as a fairly young woman with freckles and a modest demeanor, and her as the dark-eyed, toothy creature who is ageless and knows so much more than any of the humans around her.
A lot of this issue takes place from sunset into dark, and there is some lovely coloring of the outdoor scenes. I particularly like the way the sunset glow touches the bricks of the stables, a sort of last warm glow before Arthur again hunts the creature in its den. There is also a lot of activity on horseback which is quite handily done. One other little atmospheric observation – when Arthur is deep in the mine, his torch the only light, we start seeing writing on the wall in the magical script that was on the dead man’s body. It is almost as if it is following him where he goes, which is actually kind of spooky.
BOTTOM LINE: HOW TO DEFEAT THE INTANGIBLE
Wellington #4 challenges the main character and everything he believes in, as well as what he feels instinctively. Rationality meets superstition with open-mindedness, as well as the knowledge that fear and courage are but two sides of the same coin.
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