REVIEW: ‘Undiscovered Country,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Undiscovered Country is published by Image comics. It is written in tandem by Scott Snyder and Charles Soule. The art team consists of Giuseppe Camuncoli and Daniele Orlandi, with additional inks by Leonardo Marcello Grassi, with colours by Matt Wilson and lettering by Crank!. At the end of the last issue, the team was captured by the enemy. Undiscovered Country #4’s plot picks up from last issue, with the group of heroes in the clutches of the Destiny Man, the despotic ruler of this particularly twisted part of the Spiral.   Aiding the Destiny Man is Daniel Graves, the man appointed to be the leader of the team.

Undiscovered Country #4 moves slowly, alternating between the characters in the present day and flashback focused on Valentina Sandoval, the journalist of the team. The audience doesn’t feel inclined to rush through the story, however, each panel is packed full of information and character details. My eyes were glued to the page as tragic, unexpected twists are exposed and throughout the issue, uneasiness builds whenever the Destiny Man is in a panel.

The characters in this series are exceptional. Every single one of them is completely different from the next. They’re unique in their looks, their personality, and nationality. All of them have their own hidden backstory and have their own motives and reasons in every action they take. From the translator Chang, who is written as selfish and cruel and destined to be hated by the readers, to the kinder Charlotte, each one stands out and is explored to the fullest. Every single one of them is harbouring a secret, slowly being revealed as each issue digs deeper into the background of the seven main characters. These gripping plot twists and explosive reveals give the characters a three-dimensional feel. 

Undiscovered Country #4

I’ve never read a comic, with a cast this size, where every character is getting fleshed out to this extent and a group of people that are influential in this achievement is the fantastic art team. Every character is drawn to be individual and instantly recognizable. I mentioned that their looks are different, but that doesn’t do it justice. While their hair and their clothes truly represent their respective personalities, the character designs differ right down to the shape of their faces. The spiked hair of leader Daniel, with each peak bending and facing a different direction. The tattoos etched across Valentina’s skin. The streak of blue in Charlotte’s hair, vibrantly realized by Wilson’s colours. The characters in this book are impossible not to get attached to based on the fact that they look so real.

The detail continues with the villains and the twisted world they live in. The height and thinness of the evil Destiny Man make him look alien and inhuman, especially in splash pages. The domed helmet hiding any facial figures His minions are all also individually designed, made to look even more distressing by the thin lines inked on by Orlandi. Wilson uses bright colours rarely in this book, which is understandable considering the post-apocalyptic setting. When he does it’s used on an important object which is placed in the centre of the panel. This effect gives the objects so much power. 

Undiscovered Country #4

Another thing that is very refreshing about Undiscovered Country is the fact that the majority of the seven team members aren’t figures bred to combat. Other than Daniel, the septet is bolstered by older negotiators, historians, doctors and journalists. Valentina is one that fits most in a sci-fi setting, accompanied by her drone sidekick Buzz, but beyond that, the reader left with people who look far out of their comfort zone. This sets the series apart from 

In an introductory letter included at the back of issue one, Snyder makes a point at noting the importance of communication, and that’s evidenced heavily in the story. The occupations of several of the protagonists are based on talking or spreading information. America sends itself into ruin because it wants to isolate itself from the rest of the world. The characters endanger their lives and the lives of their colleagues because they hide secrets. That’s the biggest takeaway from Undiscovered Country #4: communication is key.

It should also be mentioned that the back of the issues contains long letters from both Snyder and Soule, describing the genesis and creative process of the story. Included as a bonus is a timeline that describes events at the start of the alternate future to the present day. Camuncoli also takes the reader through his processes on designing the characters. These pieces give great insight into the production of the comic and made me love it even more.

Undiscovered Country #4 is a tense but exciting ride through a tale that feels meticulously planned and designed. Soule, Snyder, Camuncoli and the rest of the creative team have created a huge world with huge potential. Using flashbacks of seven characters they have filled this alternate universe with tiny details that make it seem massive. Simultaneously, the scenes get intimate and fraught with emotion. The depth that has been stitched into the characters got me attached instantly. I want them all to live so I can keep learning about them. Except for Chang – I want Chang to be eaten. 

Undiscovered Country #4 is available wherever comics are sold.

Undiscovered Country #4
5

TL;DR

Undiscovered Country #4 is a tense but exciting ride through a tale that feels meticulously planned and designed. Soule, Snyder, Camuncoli and the rest of the creative team have created a huge world with huge potential.