The Marked #4 is published by Image Comics, written by David Hine and Brian Haberlin, with art by Haberlin, colors by Geirrod Van Dyke, and letters by Francis Takenaga. This issue begins at the government facility for the occult, Shadowgate, with Liza Hagen in her Sphere of Power overlooking the body of her friend and regretting her decision to kill her. Soon after, she is confronted by General Burman, at which point she explains that he unintentionally had a hand in giving her the “glorified Rubik’s cube” which became her Sphere of Power.
The exchange between the two escalates which leads to General Burman to pull a gun on Liza, who then gives an order to Zandra to attack the general using a tattoo of a monster she has on her chest. Sebastian, the soldier accompanying the general uses magic to help them escape. The intensity doesn’t stop there, however, as Saskia, Mavin and other members of The Marked find themselves under attack at their townhouse in Manhattan.
Hine and Haberlin are delivering an intense story with a simple concept: tattoos and magic. More specifically magical tattoos (or glyphs as they are commonly referred to in the issue) that can be used as weapons. Even though the concept is simple, the story is still very much complex because it incorporates a large cast of characters that are either part of a magic order known as The Shangen or the government’s occult research branch, Shadowgate. There is also an evil entity from alternate dimension The Marked will have to contend with. The writers do a good job inserting moments of exposition with a serious tone followed by equally high stakes action scenes. The dialogue between the characters moves the story along well.
Haberlin does a great job adding detailed tattoos on the arms and chests of his characters. The faces he draws have less detail but this is fine because Van Dyke uses the colors to accentuate shadows and features in the faces. The general tone of the color scheme in the issue is dark with a lot of black, gray and dull primary colors, which is not surprising given that the book is dealing with the occult and tattoos which are of course generally black.
But, Van Dyke interrupts the darkness in the issue when characters activate their tattoos in preparation for battle. You can find good examples of this throughout the issue, but possibly one of the best is on page twenty when a character attacking The Marked in their townhouse begins powering up the ninja throwing star tattoos on his arm which glow white and bright yellow color. The bright glow of the tattoos ends up contrasting well with the overcast look of the backgrounds.
Hine, Haberlin, Van Dyke and Takenaga have created a story with characters in a calamitous situation and it has piqued my interest enough to want to know how it ends.
The Marked #4 is available now wherever comics are sold and online through our Comixology affiliate link.