Fear Case #4 ends Dark Horse Entertainment’s gripping mini-series on May 5. Writer Matt Kindt wraps up the story by satisfying the reader’s dread. It’s a feeling that artist Tyler Jenkins expresses to the reader with empty space, and for Hilary Jenkins to fill those spaces with colors of terror immediately. Finally, letterer Jim Campbell provides captions to ensure each character’s voice is heard.
Fear Case #4: After Fear
Kindt was building up to a dreadful climax for the protagonists since the first issue. Without going into spoilers, the reader will share Mitchum’s sense of helplessness because his partner Winters’ fate resulted from the choices he made throughout the series. Nothing could prevent what happens in Fear Case #4, including a few unspoken rules about the titular case; again, no spoilers.
The issue’s plot has a structure that completely evokes a sense of no control. It’s a rather intelligent commentary on conspiracy theories; no matter how people explain the reasons for them, it doesn’t make dire situations surrounding conspiracies any better. To drive the point even further, Kindt ends the mini-series with a sense of disenchantment, like the events of Fear Case feel doomed to happen again.
Art of Desolation
Tyler brings a lot of empty space to Fear Case #4 to emphasize a sense of confusion between the reader and Mitchum. The first pages are half-empty, with Mitchum entirely out of view. Through these void spaces, the reader empathizes with Mitchum’s frustrations. By the time Mitchum is seen in full to explain why he is frustrated, his explanations are in flashbacks via half-full panels. Because it illustrates how unsatisfying the answers he receives are.
Hilary, in the meantime, gives the panels phantasmic colors. A brooding night sky over Winters has a slight tinge of a brighter sunrise. Only for the next image to have an even brighter red image like a nuclear bomb just went off. It explains the dilemma Winters is facing at that moment before transitioning back to the darker sky setting.
With so much suspense in Fear Case #4, Campbell provides just enough distinction in lettering. The captions have a color code between Winters’ light gray captions and Mitchum’s dark green. Unlike the psychiatrist, Mitchum is speaking with whose captions are white like all of the word balloons. It’s almost like Mitchum would be speaking to anyone so he wouldn’t be alone with his thoughts.
Complete Fear Case #4
Fear Case #4 ends a must-read series in the best way possible for a thriller. The story might be over, but there’s no sense of finality. All that’s left are anxieties that will stick to the characters and the readers who empathize with them.
What do you all think? Will Fear Case be something worth remembering? Or is it too unsatisfying for your tastes?