What would you do if you could confront *your own murderer*?  Your Major Spoilers review of The Girl In The Bay #4 awaits!


Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Corin Howell
Colorist: James Devlin
Letterer: Clem Robins
Editor: Karen Berger
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 1, 2019

Previously in The Girl In The BayKathy Sartori comes face-to-face with the man who murdered her fifty years ago, discovering that Hugh Lansky is just a pawn in the hands of a dark entity that’s determined to erase her from existence.  Will Kathy ultimately learn the reason for her mysterious rebirth – or will she be destined to die again?


Returned to life mysteriously after being murdered in 1969, Kathy Sartori now has to find a missing girl, stolen by the same man who murdered her those many years ago.  Before she can find the child, though, she relives her own death again, this time from the perspective of her killer, a man named Hugh.  This leads her to his home, where she encounters a strange, amorphous “thing” manipulating him into kidnapping the little girl to get her attention.  With the help of the ghost of her favorite musician, Winston, Kathy confronts man and monster and discovers the truth of how she exists: Her desperation to survive broke through the walls of reality and created a world where she simply lived on.  Unfortunately, Hugh remembers killing her and wants to do so again, leading to a metaphysical battle.  That is followed by a purely physical one, during which Kathy and Hugh struggle, leading her to scream at her once-and-future killer, “I deserve to live, damn you!”


That exact moment is where the story gets weird, but also the point where it becomes immensely satisfying, thanks to DeMatteis’ ability to tap into the emotions of his characters and make them relatable, no matter how unusual or outre.  Kathy’s actions that lead up to the ending of this issue make a nice symmetry for the mystery of how she managed to survive not surviving, and there’s even some closure for older Kathy (though I don’t want to reveal too much for those who haven’t gotten this issue yet.)  The art is pretty remarkable, too, keeping everything in this issue grounded, even when it involves strange emotion blob creatures or fights.  Kathy and Hugh’s struggle is less a comic book fight than an old man and a young woman desperately trying to overpower the other in a very real and authentic way, and the issue is better for it.  That final page is also lovely and may mean that Kathy’s story isn’t over, but makes it clear that this is an ending, and a good one.


In short, while The Girl In The Bay #4 is a strange issue of a strange series, it pulls all the threads together to end Kathy’s story on an up note, finally explaining things in a way that bridges the esoteric and the mundane, bringing the story to a close and earning 4 out of 5 stars overall.  Best of all, this strange story of death and mystery and loss has an unexpectedly upbeat ending, and the uplifting parts make up for all the darkness that Kathy had to go through to get here, a lesson that more mainstream comics could stand to learn.

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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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