Live a life of ludicrous abandon, or die a fool! Your Major Spoilers review of Ludocrats #4 from Image Comics awaits!


Writer: Kieron Gillen & Jim Rossignol
Artist: Jeff Stokely
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Chrissy Williams
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 19, 2020

Previously in Ludocrats: Once upon a time, some brave heroes discovered that the Hyper-Pope planned to homogenize all reality to make it boring…

This insult must not be allowed to stand!


Things are looking grim for Baron Otto and his band of Ludocrats, as a fourth-dimensional creature that used to be Otto’s pet tries to break into their last stronghold. Now encompassing an entire universe, the only way to escape would be to transmute themselves into two-dimensional state, but Voldigan can’t do that because of the Hyper-Pope’s machinations. Suddenly, they’re free, swinging from vines and very confused about it, which narrator Doctor X-Position explains is due to pages of the script being lost and the creators not noticing because nobody can actually make sense of the plot. Thus, they’ve escaped, but Otto loses his temper and kills X-Position! This has the added effect of letting them escape, as the lack of an x-position leaves them with only y and z-position, rendering them two dimensional.

Take a breath, the story gets better. When Elaina complains that she misses her third dimension, as she’s a pretty two-dimensional character anyway, they return to their normal state, only to find that there’s nowhere to escape to. All their hideouts, all their escape plans, all their avenues of exit have been destroyed… and one of them has sold them all out to the Hyper-Pope.


Man, this book is an experience, and even as a fan of silliness, frippery and meta narratives, I’m not sure this issue entirely works for me. The “we lost several pages of the script” joke is a lot, as is the X-Position pun, as is the reveal of the Hyper-Pope, Otto’s twin brother, as is the betrayal… All together, it makes for an issue that leaves me exhausted. The art is quite lovely, and special kudos is due to Tamra Bonvillain’s vibrant colors, which make every page a rainbow of bright pastels that never comes off garish. The story has its moments, especially when EVERY MEMBER of Otto’s band reveals that they were prepared to turn traitor, with the actual culprit being the last character I would have expected. It’s just… SO. MUCH. So many puns, so many hand-waves, so many twists and turns and ludicrous moments, which I know I signed up for… I just didn’t know that they could put that many hats on other storyline hats.


The long and short of it all is that Ludocrats #4 stretches the premise even further than the previous three, almost too far for my tastes, but it stays true to its premise and lives up to the title, with strong art and beautiful coloring earning a better-than-average 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. If you’re cynical by nature, you may want to watch your step, but fans of absurdity should find this one to be the proverbial cat’s meow.

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The fidelity to ludicrosity is admirable, but this issue is A LOT. If you live by puns, silliness and metatextuality, this one is probably a must-buy.

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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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