Magical tattoos may have brought six young people together, but now they find out that the Fountain of Youth is at stake. Can they protect the island from Serena and her pirates? Find out in Relics of Youth #4 from Vault Comics!
Writer: Matt Nicholas and Chad Rebmann
Artist: Skylar Patridge
Colorist: Vladimir Popov
Letterer: Andworld Design
Editor: Adrian E. Wassel
Publisher: Vault Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 8, 2020
Previously in Relics of Youth: Nat and five other young people are stranded on an island they’ve all seen in their dreams, and discover they have supernatural powers. Garrett and Mia are caught by Serena and her pirates, who are looking for something. Using their powers, they are able to escape. Nat and Derek make their way to a pyramid on the island. After climbing it to get a better idea of where the others might be, they awaken a vampiric god-figure who attacks Nat. They manage to get away from him and run into Serena instead. Blake and Tristan find a village of people led by a woman named Adela who is the last elder of the families of Oshtia. She identifies the young people as the bloodline who are called to protect the island and with it, the Fountain of Youth. Serena forces Adela at gunpoint to lead them there, which she does, and they discover that the Fountain has long since dried up.
STORY SUMMARY AND CRITIQUE
Relics of Youth #4 opens with Garrett and Mia sneaking up on a village that has been taken over by Serena’s pirates. Mia wants to help them; Garrett is more cautious. As one of the villagers asks for permission to get water, the guard is attacked by the invisible Mia. Garrett uses his powers to turn rocks into steel and throws them. I like that there’s actually some humor with these characters – first of all, for turning rocks into something a lot like rocks, but also for Mia, who is attracted to one of the villagers. It makes the young people seem young again. Adela shows up and shoots the other pirates.
Meanwhile, the others have been captured by the pirates, which is a little circular, but all right. Between Adela talking to Garrett and Mia, and Serena talking to Nat, we learn a little more about the Bloodline. They are the descendants of the seven warriors who protected the Fountain of Youth from Ponce de Leon (with powers bestowed upon them by Oshtia). Now the Fountain is again under siege. Serena also is a descendant of the bloodline, and she has a couple drops of water from the Fountain. She wants Nat to reach out to Oshtia and bring the Fountain back to life.
Serena has a second plan though, or her boss does. The freighter unloads heavy equipment that gets to work excavating around the fountain. (We don’t see the unloading, nor the trek to the Fountain, which cannot have been as fast as it appears to have been, what with the lack of roads here.) Meanwhile, Garrett and Mia return to the freighter and rescue all the others. Finally, they’re together again, and they make their way to the Fountain to protect the Fountain and stop the excavations. Derek is almost completely spent and hangs back, and Nat stays with him, until she spots Serena. They have unfinished business. In the struggle, Nat’s gun (which Serena has) goes off and shoots Derek. Nat knocks Serena out, takes her precious drops of water from the Fountain, and gives them to Derek. But life is never that easy.
Things end rather suddenly. Serena’s men have the upper hand, but with a burst of energy, Derek comes back from the dead. The bad guys leave. Adela talks of other magical relics of the Island, which hints at the possibility of further adventures. The young people bring the Fountain back to life, and there’s a great epilogue.
There are a lot of characters in Relics of Youth #4 and the art helps us to keep track of them. They’re hot young people in beach clothes, but I appreciate the fact that they aren’t drawn as gratuitiously sexy. In fact, there are a lot of humorous moments which bring out the kid in Garrett and in Mia, for example. Considering the darkness in Derek’s cancer, it’s refreshing to have some goofiness too.
For a change, the scenery and backgrounds seem more sketched in. This could be because so much has to happen to draw the story to a close. The battle between the villagers, the Bloodline, and the pirates is admittedly complicated. I like the art better in the smaller fights, such as the one between Serena and Nat. It’s focused and feels desperate and visceral.
BOTTOM LINE: MYSTERIES AND MYSTICISM
Relics of Youth #4 is energetic and ambitious. I like the portrayals of the young people, although I think Tristan and Blake don’t get much in their roles. The story is set up well, but by the time we get to the end, it feels that there are suddenly a lot of loose ends to tie up. The passage of time is a bit unclear now and then, but the drama is maintained. And I like using the trope of a mysterious island – it captures the imagination and gives the story some reasonable limits.
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Relics of Youth #4
Six young people from widely different backgrounds discover their common destiny.