ATOMIC VICTORY SQUAD #4 / WRITER: LOWELL DEAN / ARTIST: JAVIER MARTIN CABA / LETERRER: MICAH MYERS / PUBLISHER: SELF-PUBLISHED / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
For the misunderstood.
That’s the mantra depicted alongside Invincibull on the inside cover of Atomic Victory Squad’s fourth issue. For anyone who’s been keeping up with the antics and adventures of AVS so far, you’ll be well aware that these are far from your usual insta-smiling, baby-kissing, granny-hugging, cape ‘n’ tights heroes. And this time out, things get deep for our ragtag team of misfits.
In this latest offering, the Atomic Victory Squad are at their most vulnerable and are laid bare in a way not yet seen in the preceding three issues of Lowell Dean’s creation. We see Zoozanna battling the multiple animalistic personalities that reside within her. There’s Invincibull and She-Girl finally lowering their guard and allowing their feelings for each other to shine through. Then for poor Triangle Master, Bubble Myers, and Gary the Mime, their greatest fears and insecurities are spotlighted as they’re psychoanalysed on a quack’s couch. And as for the aforementioned Invincibull, let’s just say his time seeking counsel takes a turn for the worst in the most sinister of ways.
What we have here is the best issue of Atomic Victory Squad yet - which is quite the testament, given how the previous three offerings all impressed - with Dean diving deep on what makes his flawed heroes tick. Throw in a few choice villains, twists and turns, and a cliff-hanger that promises to bring the five-issue run of AVS to an explosive conclusion, and you have the makings of another hugely enjoyable read.
Likewise, artist Javier Martin Caba once again captures the action in glorious fashion, with his fun yet emotive work only further adding to the backstories of our heroes, while similarly adding to some of the jarring terrors of what awaits the Atomic Victory Squad in the present day. Then there's the lettering delivered by Micah Myers, which punches from every panel and hammers home all of the suitable beats required at any one time.
It really is impressive to see the world that Lowell Dean and his team have created from scratch. In just four issues, a connection has been conjured up between the Atomic Victory Squad and the reader. These are characters who you care about, who you want to learn more about, and who are completely and utterly relatable – particularly if you’re an alien species of space cow, of course.
By the time you get to the final page of Atomic Victory Squad #4, the only downer is the sad realisation that there’s only one more issue left in this debut run for Invincibull, She-Girl, Bubble Myers, Zoozanna, Gary the Mime, and Triangle Master. All we can hope for, is that the response to the Atomic Victory Squad has been such that it warrants further adventures for this team at some point in the not too distant future.