Thursday, December 14, 2023

Comics Review: "THE MADNESS #4" Has Women So Fierce They Can Be Compassionate


STORY: J. Michael Straczynski
INKS: David Lorenzo
COLORS: Marcelo Maiolo
LETTERS: Sal Cipriano
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Butch Guice with Lee Loughridge; Daniel Otrakji
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (November 2023)

Rated: “Mature”

The Madness is a six-issue miniseries from AWA Studios.  It is written by J. Michael Straczynski; drawn by ACO (pencils) and David Lorenzo (inks); colored by Marcelo Maiolo; and lettered by Sal Cipriano.  The series follows a woman who uses her super-powers as a thief and her quest for revenge against a group of superheroes.

The Madness introduces Sarah Ross a.k.a. “The Raven.”  She has super-powers:  flight, super speed, super strength, and invulnerability, but she can only use one at a time.  Sarah has been using her powers as a thief, stealing from the rich and giving it to herself.  She plans one more big score so that she can retire to a life of luxury.  However, she steals from the “wrong person” and that leads to brutal consequences that will drive her to revenge... and to ultimate madness.

The Madness #4 opens as The Raven recounts how she became involved with her man, the widower Richard “Rick” Chambers, and how she began to build a family with him and his two young sons, Chuck and Devon.  Now, she has to continue her revenge tour because Rick and the boys where reduced to “ash and little bits of dry, bleached bone.”

She is tracking down members of “the Council of Justice,” the team of government-sanctioned superheroes who killed her family and left her in a shattered mental state.  The latest are Astraea and Miss Victory, but only one played a part in the decision to bring death and destruction to The Raven's life.  And the other one wants to convince Raven to make a better decision that one she wants to make.  Will The Raven relent or will she fight to the death?

THE LOWDOWN:  AWA Studios marketing recently began providing me with PDF review copies of their comic book publications.  The Madness #4 is a recent acquisition.

With this fourth issue, writer J. Michael Straczynski offers a chapter that is as intense as ever, but also more intimate.  I'm surprised that this offbeat chapter maintains the series drumbeat of war and revenge without missing... a beat.  Yes, I continue to think that The Madness mixes the madness of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen with the exhilaration of Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch's The Authority.  Still, I felt a sense sadness that kept intruding on my need for kick-ass and blood lust.  There are not only consequences in the actions in which the characters take, but this is also pain.

Artist ACO may be offering his most daring storytelling and his most advanced work.  ACO creates a melancholy and tragic tone for this chapter that gives this overall narrative a sense of humanity and vulnerability that will give the violence to come some weight and depth.  ACO turns this narrative just when I think I'm following a bullet straight to violence, so I'm often getting more than I expect.

In The Madness #4, AWA Studios does what it has been doing for some time – offer the kind of single issue that can help save the Direct Market.  You just have to make the effort to find this kind of comic book, dear readers.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans looking for excellence in superhero comic books will want to try The Madness.


Reviewed by Leroy Douressaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

AWA Website: 
AWA Instagram:
AWA Twitter:
AWA Facebook:

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Amazon wants me to inform you that the affiliate link below is a PAID AD, but I technically only get paid (eventually) if you click on the affiliate link below AND buy something(s).

No comments:

Post a Comment