Here we are, back again with the fourth issue of IDW Black Crown’s impressive Eve Stranger series, about a violet-haired assassin with a mysterious background and whose memory is refreshed every week, making her the perfect spy-for-hire.
The issue’s story sees Eve recruited to assassinate Khloe Brown, a girl who would grow up into becoming the neo-fascist leader of the United Kingdom and the woman who effectively kickstarts the nuclear apocalypse in 2073. The only problem? Khloe Brown in the present day is a wide-eyed toddler and Eve has to reconcile her ability to be a cold-hearted killer with the knowledge that this girl has parallels to her own auspicious beginnings, giving us a real narrative arc for the first time in the series to hugely pleasing effect.
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In fact, the entire issue does a fantastic job of filling in more of Eve’s backstory and bringing the reader up to speed on the first three issues; Eve reflects on her journey so far during pillow talk with her boyfriend-cum-handler Jimmy that devolves into banter and ethical debating over Eve’s latest assignment. Eve’s previous assignments are hinted at here in fun pops of flashback – orgy plane! Space divorce papers delivery! Princess full moon party! – shading in more of her history, even if it’s a shame that we most likely won’t revisit any of these again.
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This debating, in fact, leads to a fun time-traveling conundrum: by the issue’s conclusion, the assignment has been carried out, in a way that implies playing with time and the effects of this on Eve and on her role. Maybe this seemingly singular episode will pay off in big ways further down the line, particularly given that the episode emphasises Eve’s background and her father, to the extent that the childlike coda (in which child Eve colours in her own backstory in age-appropriate innocence), hints at the importance of her parents yet to come.
The artwork for Eve Stranger continues to be fantastic here (a special shout to colourist Eva de la Cruz for the gorgeous front cover which sees a literal spectrum of Eves in a chain of iridescent, rainbow-hued selves) and the pairing of Phillip Bond as the artist and David Barnett as the writer continues to pay off in big ways, making this series one of the most interesting and exciting around. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next instalment.
Eve Stranger #4 is out now from IDW Publishing, and is available digitally and from comic shops.