In the fight against the Wreeks, death is the only end. Walt was struck down and lies unconscious while his mentor, Grink, just barely keeps him alive. Does he have anything left to fight for, or to live for? Find out in End After End #4 from Vault Comics!
END AFTER END #4
Writer: David Andry and Tim Daniel
Artist: Sunando C
Colorist: Kurt Michael Russell
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Editor: Adrian F. Wassel
Publisher: Vault Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: December 7, 2022
Previously in End After End: Walt continues in the unending fight against the Wreeks. His mentor, Grink, does not seem to be helping him much, and another mentor comments on how Walt’s survival is a new record for him. Walt remembers when the relic, a sword hilt, fell into his hands, but the Catha took it away, saying it was not for him. He wonders why he should not be someone special. As the battle changes scenes, Stills jokingly calls Walt the “Chosen One.” After more fighting, they recover another relic, a piece from a shield, and Grink says that the story is that when the sword and shield are assembled, a great hero will be reborn, and the endless war will finally be over.
THE BATTLE AS A METAPHOR FOR LIFE
End after End #4 opens with Walt down and unconscious. Grink tries to wake him but cannot. He asks Stills for help but Stills thinks he looks dead and that they should leave him. Walt, he says, is no soldier.
Speaking of leaving things behind, Walt remembers his youth. His parents wanted him to go to college and discover an interest in any field which could support him in life. He wanted to become an artist. They saw his art as a hobby, as a distraction, and gave him an ultimatum. If he did not enroll in a career program, they would no longer support him. Ouch. It is a cruel choice that so many young people must face.
Walt is not yet dead. Another memory goes through his mind. He brings his art in to be critiqued, and is told that while he is technically good, he is not putting any of himself into his work. There is no emotion there. Perhaps fine art is not his destiny, and the man suggests that he should consider commercial art instead. He could make a living with that. He returns home to his wife. This is not the first time he has been turned down. When he tells her about the “commercial art” suggestion, she sees that as a way for him to be paid for doing something he loves. He sees it as a perversion of it. It turns out that she is a musician. She had lofty aspirations, but to make a living, she has found the joy of playing music for weddings.
Grink continues to hover over Walt. Stills returns, and Grink thinks he has come back for Walt. But no; he has come back to end his suffering. Grink interposes and tells him that Walt considers him to be a friend. There are more lessons to be learned here than fighting. Stills disagrees. All there is here is war. The only thing here is killing – to kill or to be killed. Grink thinks that in battle, one needs to fight for something. Stills sees only the fighting.
Another flashback and we see Walt working, painting store windows for the holidays. His work captivates kids and families who pass by, but it is ephemeral. He gave up on his dream and does not feel like this is art. Is his afterlife an echo of his life? Does he feel like he has nothing to fight for, or that he is not worth the fight?
THE BLEAKNESS OF A SOUL
The art of End After End #4 has a rough and gritty feel to it. We have seen the fighting in previous issues; this one is about the war and how it affects individuals, and even this is a metaphor for life. Walt clings to life, barely conscious, hardly moving at all. Grink’s concern and Stills’ coldness are like the tug of life on humanity – connections that help us feel like we matter, and the realization that the world, as a whole, is an entity that has no feeling for the minute beings that are part of it.
Still, Walt is conscious enough to pick up on words spoken around him, words that trigger his memories. His memories are sepia and gray as though his life became a darker place as he grew up and had to live and make sense of it all. Walt himself is the only splash of color in these scenes, and even that fades to gray as we see the bleakness of his compromise with his ideals.
BOTTOM LINE: TAKING A DEEPER AND DARKER TURN
End After End #4 is a melancholy chapter in a fluid story that started out with more classic heroics but now reapproaches a main character who learned long ago that real life does not come with literary heroes. If there is no grand meaning to life, what meaning is there?
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End After End #4
Unconscious, Walt remembers his struggles in life.