12th Nov2018

‘The Raid #4′ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Alex Paknadel | Art by Budi Setiawan | Published by Titan Comics

The-Raid-4-cover

Last issue was an absolute stormer, helped in part by Alex Paknadel taking over as scripter from Ollie Masters. Masters obviously plotted out the entire arc, so kudos for that, but the devil in the detail last issue came from Paknadel who really energised the issue. Last issue also saw the two different storylines we have been following, Teja and Rama/Yuda in prison and Bejo’s turf war with rival boss Otomo, finally link up. A police informant told Bejo that a cop in prison (Teja) is talking to Bunawar, the anti-corruption task force, and that the trail will ultimately end up at the feet of Bejo. Not the most subtle of men, Bejo’s solution? Hammer Girl, Baseball Bat Man, and The Assassin make a house call.

Well, more a prison call, as that is where Teja is currently being held. Obviously they can’t just walk in. Turns out they can, with the aid of a huge bag of money and a hand grenade. Choose your poison Bejo tells the guard. He, wisely, chooses the bribe. The assassins are in. Luckily for Teja this isn’t Rama’s first rodeo, and he recognises a trap when he sees it. Lack of guards, eerie silence, and the fact the fires are starting up in places designed to herd Teja in a certain direction. First up is The Assassin, and Rama barely holds his own against him, giving Teja time to try and escape. Teja makes it as far as a bat in the face from Baseball Bat Man. Not good.

Turns out Teja is a pretty good fighter though, and he holds his own against Baseball Bat Man pretty well, leaving both bloody and battered. Unfortunately Teja’s only friend, Rama, is incapacitated, but there’s still two other assassins coming for him. Again Teja holds his own against Hammer Girl and The Assassin, but finally all three together is too much and he is overwhelmed. Any other book Tejo would be taken prisoner, or tied up, or the villain would spend several pages using just enough exposition needed until Tejo could escape or have the cavalry arrive. But this is The Raid. No cavalry. No escape. Just hit so hard your jawbone flies off your skull, and then gutted from your neck to your belly. Real life, folks, the good guys don’t always win.

As this is a sub story of The Raid 2, the ending has to feed into the narrative of that film while still resolving this storyline in a satisfactory way. It does. Bejo has won this fight, murdering his own father along the way too, as his recklessness starts to build to levels that will prove his undoing. Rama, still in prison and mourning Teja, doubles down on his desire to get out of prison and take down Bejo. Ollie Master and Alex Paknadel haven’t just slot this into a convenient film plot hole, they have made a story that actually adds to character actions and motivations in the film. I also enjoyed the way the brutal violence was played out against Teja recounting a story in his mind that enabled him to find peace. Very emotionally charged stuff.

Budi Setiawan’s art was also fantastic, as frenetic and kinetic as static images on a page could ever get. The layouts actually made you read at a faster pace, at the pace of an action film, which gave the story even greater effect. Great stuff.

Fine work. Fine bat wielding, hammer hurling, knife jabbing, bone crunching, eye gouging, fingers crushing, jawbone severing work.

****½  4.5/5

The Raid #4 is out now from Titan Comics

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