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REVIEW: 'Compass' #4 by Robert Mackenzie, Dave Walker, Daniela Miwa, and Justin Greenwood

COMPASS #4 

Writer: Robert Mackenzie, Dave Walker

Artist: Justin Greenwood, Daniela Miwa

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: September 15, 2021

Cover Price: $3.99

GREG RUCKA proudly presents a new direction in adventure with...COMPASS!

Deep in the belly of the underworld, undying beasts and warrior ghouls await...but can Shahidah El-Amin survive the last deadly guardian of the fabled Cauldron of Eternal Life? Finding her way through the darkness is only the beginning-outside the cavern, a Mongolian war party awaits! From the acclaimed OLD GUARD: TALES THROUGH TIME team of writers ROBERT MACKENZIE and DAVE WALKER (LAZARUS SOURCEBOOK) and artist JUSTIN GREENWOOD (LAZARUS: X +66, Stumptown), Shahi's quest for the prize of immortality nears its thrilling end!

Score: 

★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)

'Compass' has been an educational and exciting adventure that's brought two intelligent women together despite their opposing motivations. This penultimate episode is a breath-taking perilous journey that forces Shahidah and Ling to work together to survive the caves and the defenders of the Cauldron of Eternal Life. 

As entertaining and thrilling as the race to the Cauldron has been, it's really the relationship they share that's the most fascinating and rewarding. They're not adversaries but friends with different agendas and motivated by different things. Writers Robert Mackenzie and Dave Walker concentrate on exploring the dynamics of their friendship while revealing just high the stakes are for Ling. There's a chilliness between them, exasperated by Ling's pride and resistance to getting help. The frigidness of the relationship begins to thaw and it's refreshing to see the two work together instead of being pitted against one another. 

Justin Greenwood and Daniela Miwa do a flawless job in designing the characters and the action. While some of the eye-popping visuals associated with the beasts lurking in the caverns are indeed stunning, it's the emotional expressions and body language between Shahidah and Ling that tell the story. Ling's sorrowful look, not having eye contact, and slouching shoulders speak to her shame and keeping her guard up despite Shahidah's attempts to console her, reassure her, and attempt to help her. The writers and artists recognize the importance of developing this friendship, giving it weight, and respecting the nuances of their journeys. They don't take them or the reader for granted. 

'Compass' is a marvelous adventure series entering its penultimate issue with all the action you expect and the emotional weight you don't. Shahidah and Ling reunite and work together to take one of the greatest archeological treasures in human history. But it's their friendship that proves to be more valuable. Buy it for the adventure, enjoy it for the action, cherish it for the characters, and learn from its reference materials. One of the year's best and smartest new titles. 

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