The Cull #4 is written by Kelly Thompson and published by Image Comics. Artwork and colours are by Mattia De Iulis and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. The main cover art (left) is also by Mattia De Iulis.
The Cull #4 is available now, in print and on digital platforms where all good comic books are sold.
Our intrepid filmmakers turned explorers turned…something else?…have returned home to find only horror and chaos awaiting them. What does it all mean? Can any of it be fixed? Teamwork makes the dream work! Pffft!
Okay, deep breaths. The gang has passed back through the cave and arrived on Black Water Beach back where our story began. After some serious complications last issue we’re now in the penultimate chapter of Kelly Thompson and Mattia De Iulis’ story and I am not ready for it to be almost over.
Finally we have returned to a moment first glimpsed in issue #1 and it is spectacular. Mattia De Iulis has had the challenge of rendering some incredible landscapes in The Cull. But this issue we’re finally now seeing our world post… attack? It’s difficult to say. But one thing is clear, our leads are going to feel the emotional weight of crossing in to the liminal space and seemingly allowing this giant creature to arrive on Earth.
Let’s talk creature designs for a moment. Everything in The Cull feels entirely original. But I do also feel a Cloverfield vibe. The size of the creature is awe inspiring for a start. But the sense of confusion and the desperation also reflects the Cloverfield approach to this invasion-type story. The inspiration is natural. That film revolutionised cinema and there’s every chance this book could do the same for comics. Either way the design work on this book is flawless.
Neither Thompson nor De Iulis is holding anything back (again) this month. We’re seeing the full brunt of everything that happened whilst our kids were inside the cave. Through found footage no less. Another Cloverfield nod. Whilst the sci-fi visuals have been an incredible draw for The Cull the real magic is in its human storytelling. Thompson hasn’t shied away from the fact our group of characters is naive and navigating uncharted waters. Each has their own emotional baggage which we saw beautifully reflected last issue when the liminal space began to grant them powers. Taking that a step forward this issue we’re seeing Cleo hitting a wall when it comes to her involvement in causing this chaos. But at this stage nobody is innocent and that guilt really shines through in the writing.
There is still some levity in this penultimate chapter of the story. With several families reunited there’s a glimmer of hope for the future. Funnily enough even reading those lighter moment I had a sense of unease about where it was leading. That’s not to say it was obvious. For a moment I suspected a pod people scenario but Thompson had me fooled. Instead the final moments leading us in to issue #5 are a gut-wrenching moment for one of our core cast. Not only is it a strong emotional turning point. It’s also a brilliant tease for a potential conflict in the final issue.
What can I say other than The Cull is one of the single best series of 2023.
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