REVIEW: ‘Strange Academy,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Strange Academy #4
Strange Academy #4 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Skottie Young, art by Humberto Ramos, colors by Edgar Delgado, and letters by Clayton Cowles. Having finished their excursion through the streets of New Orleans, the students are back at school. With library duty for some, and time to play for others, it can get quite chaotic rather quickly at the Strange Academy.

Great character writing is always a wonderful thing. While Young continues to excel at bringing the students to life, the story is reaching that point where I’m starting to itch for just a little bit more. As Strange Academy #4 once again delivers more setup with both the children as well as the strange tree-looking entities we saw teased last issue.

The bulk of the story focuses on a bunch of the students as they play a game of door tag. Door tag functions like the mundane version, only doors are manipulated as gateways that, instead of merely letting someone outside, transports them through a random door somewhere else. And while there is no mention of it in the story, I’m assuming there is at least some limiter as to where the children could end up. Since there are obviously some horrible possibilities there.

Even though it provided some good fun to see what random magical places the kids ended up in, and some unique creatures they meet, this did come to feel a bit too much like filler. Entertaining filler though it was. If it was coming sandwiched between a previously completed story and one about to begin I would have nothing to complain about. Alas, as we are four issues in without a proper story arc going, it felt a little like wasted time.

The other side of Strange Academy #4 focuses on a few students, mostly Doyle, as they help the Librarian get some texts and magical literature back to its rightful places. These moments felt mostly like the game of tag, fun, yet unnecessary. Though it did go to reinforce that yes, bad things can sometimes come from reading a book.

This side of the story also brought the issue’s one more serious note. As one of the students realize a secret about another and goes a step too far in almost revealing it to the rest of their classmates. This moment of mishandled revelation doesn’t linger long but is impactful nonetheless.

While the art has been great throughout the series it feels at its best in Strange Academy #4. Ramos’ style fully embraces the craziness of the students’ games, as well as the magical energies at work. The carefree spirit of the youth is exceptionally present within the panels.

The art gets further energy instilled into it through Delgado’s vibrant colors. Some great contrasts are used to enhance the energy-filled art. This is most notable when a certain magical entity makes an appearance in the school library. No eye could miss that guy amidst the bookshelves.

Lastly, we have the lettering work of Cowles. The letters deliver the story cleanly, and I appreciated some of the extra colors and fonts used for some of the magical entities in the story. Delivering that extra visual spice to the dialogue that helps give the story that final boost.

When all is said and done, Strange Academy #4 delivers an enjoyable story. With the pieces looking to be in place for the story to begin in earnest, I look forward to what Strange Academy will look like with a direct threat for the school to contend with.

Strange Academy #4 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Strange Academy #4
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TL;DR

When all is said and done, Strange Academy #4 delivers an enjoyable story. With the pieces looking to be in place for the story to begin in earnest, I look forward to what Strange Academy will look like with a direct threat for the school to contend with.