Review - The Four Horsemen Book II: The Chosen

Being the Helldiver really isn't all its cracked up to be. Not only do you have to bring together a motley crew of individuals to save the world, you've also got to contend with personal tragedy, demons and hell. Oh, and the world is slated to be run over by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Sounds like a blast. It's all there and more in Heavy Metal's The Four Horsemen Book II: The Chosen.

The second issue is written by Michael Mendheim, Mike Kennedy and Sean Jaffee, with art by Simon Bisley and colors by Chad Fidler.

Adam Cahill continues his quest to save the world. He's already recruited one of the lost souls he'll need to stave off the Four Horsemen from wreaking their vengeance upon the world. In these chapters, he finds two more.

The first is Lucas Hand, a being who's tortured himself for the death of his wife. He interpreted the Bible's word a little too literally, losing his son as well and becoming something of an abomination. Essentially, he can't die, and his body shows the scars from all the attempts.

The second is Jordan Osbourne, a Senator who's also earned the attention of Belarios, a demon working for Satan. Osbourne happens to be the key figure in opening all the seals and releasing the Four Horsemen, with the second book a race to secure his "talents."

The above paragraphs really shortsell the story, as Mendheim, Kennedy and Jaffee have crafted something much more complex. The Four Horsemen Book II: The Chosen is a story of redemption and fighting the end of the world and it's these two themes that are prevalent throughout.

The story overall is actually really intense and is incredibly deep and complex. Yes, this is essentially a basic story from the Bible, but the way its presented adds more layers to it. This is not a book you can just casually pick up and read; you have to commit to it. And that's not a bad thing.

There's a really nice touch used by the writers to introduce the bigger players. They present a full-page panel, quickly recapping the character's history to that point. It's extremely effective without being too overbearing, a feat that isn't easy to pull off.

Bisley's art is incredible throughout, further accented by Fidler's colors. His rendering of Lucas Hand is especially imaginative, as he borrows from Bernie Wrightson's Frankenstein while adding some battle scars of his own. The Four Horsemen Book II: The Chosen is all about the gates of hell opening and releasing woes unto the world and the sheer despair conveyed by the images is a great addition to the story.

There is one minor complaint about the art and it was a complaint in the first book as well. Some panels are really, really crowded or colored very darkly, making it difficult to discern what's happening. It might have been the review copy, but there were a few pages where you have to look really closely to find out what's going on.

The Four Horsemen Book II: The Chosen is a solid second component of the story arc. By the end of the book, things aren't looking good at all for Adam and his crew of chosen, which will make for a very interesting finale in the third book. This is a solid book that continues the top-notch quality of the first book, with both a layered, gripping story and visceral art.

The Four Horsemen Book II: The Chosen is in stores August 29.