Story: Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid
Art: Dean Haspiel
What They Say:
“Fox Hunt, Part 4”: The FOX has been punched, thrown, stabbed, crushed, shot at and smothered by a virtual army of super villains — but nothing is stopping Paul Patton, Jr. from finding his son! But that was just for starters — get ready for intense action and psychedelic paranoia as The Fox straddles the line between reality and a world of NIGHTMARE! Who is behind all of this madness? Will Fox’s son, the Ghost Fox, make it out of the city alive?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
It’s been interesting to look back at the first three issues of The Fox, and then this one, and realize how much I’ve grown to like the book. That opening issue still sticks in all the wrong ways for me, but as it moved past it and expanded itself, and had a lot of fun along the way, it’s been a crazy fun kind of retro ride in a way. Though the appeal for me still comes more from Shinji, and potentially Mae depending on how that shapes up, this installment gets me to connect with Paul just a bit more. He’s admittedly been the least interesting character of the group with his “I’m too old for this shit” routine and wanting to be out of it all, but that’s starting to change here as he’s reaching some new conclusions.
A lot of that comes under the duress and stress of being attacked by what he calls the worst rogues gallery out there. The latest one to take a stab at him through the bounty being offered is The Gasser. Using some hallucinogens, this particular villain is basically a simple man with a gas gun that puts Paul in a really weird state. It’s a familiar enough trick, one that works well, as we know that Paul is basically knocked out from the attack quickly but it allows for a good narrative to flow from within his mind and subconscious. It’s in here that we see him struggle with what he’s done as a parent, as part of a larger line of succession of superheroes, and the failings as a man in regards to his family as they’re getting caught up in his foolishness. Yes, a lot of it is done with quips along the way that involves reinventions of The Gasser’s name that frustrates said illusory villain, but it also lets Paul grapple with who he’s become and who he truly needs to be as he struggles to save Shinji, as he knows he’s off getting into who knows what at this point.
The book does deal with a few other things, such as showing Shinji getting taken down pretty hard due to his inexperience – and the realization that he does need his dad for some help. After getting Mae suiting up at the end of the previous issue, I did come away disappointed here that she doesn’t get much time, but she does connect with Paul along the way and the two are going to take things to the next level when it comes to their sun. Particularly since he’s been taken hostage by the Smile group that’s fronting the money for the bounty. It’s pretty decently done in how Paul handles all of this and it sets up the confrontation that’s ahead in a quick enough way without a lot of hemming and hawing about it. We haven’t had too much of the Smile side since the beginning of the series, so reconnecting a bit here helps and hopefully provides someone a little more challenging the rogues we’ve had so far.
The Fox has another strong issue here overall as we get into Paul’s head a lot more than we have before. While the schtick he’s had going has been grating for a bit, making Shinji and even Mae more appealing to read about, this issue delves into what’s going on in his head amid the latest attack and gets him to realize he needs to get himself together and deal with the situation that is rather than the situation he wants. And that’s an important piece for him considering the way he’s acted and worked so far. The book does some really great stuff with the character this time around but it also provides for some really fun and creative artwork as we get the hallucination sequence spread throughout much of it, which begins to get weird and weirder as it goes along. There’s some beautiful visuals to be had here with the The Fox and it leaves me hopeful that is gets a bit more cemented in what it wants to do that it can really take it to the next level. It feels like all the pieces are there and once we get past the range of weird bounty hunters and into a new arc, it could really shape up into something beautiful.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Circle Comics
Release Date: July 8th, 2015