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REVIEW: 'Big Man Plans' #4 by Eric Powell and Tim Wiesch

★★★★☆ (4/5)

Violence as entertainment takes a special touch, a viable motive and incredible execution (pun intended). Eric Powell and Tim Wiesch have just concluded their 4-issue miniseries in the same brutal fashion that's made Big Man Plans the goriest, bloodiest, and most entertaining revenge fantasy in comics. The reason for Big Man's ass-kicking adventure is revealed. 

In the three previous issues, we've been taken on quite a unique journey. Big Man has had a rough life. One of constant ridicule and sadness. The moments of joy or understanding were few but impactful. They could not hide the emotional wounds deep within his soul. The loss of his father, his encouraging and loving guardian, at a young age launched him into a cold world of uncertainty. 

Always underestimated, bullied and teased he found a talent for killing during his tours in Vietnam. The memory of an unrequited love still in his mind, a letter from her years later sets him on a path of destruction to right some wrongs and make some horrible people pay for their sins in the most painful ways imaginable. To give more details would give too much away but if you've followed the series thus far you know that Big Man shows no mercy. So the viable motive becomes clear, these men had done some unspeakable Deliverance-type horrors among others and justice was about to be served. 

The road to this point had been littered with mangled and tortured bodies, a cleansing of Big Man's dirty past washed away with a vengeful drop of a drywall hammer on someone's head. In this final issue, we get more flashbacks describing the details of his unrequited love and how she played a part in this trail of terror. Powell has a delicate touch with the flashbacks as he'd had all series long. The focus is softened, the colors become monochromatic, the lines thinner and cleaner, a contrast to the thicker, more vibrant designs of the present day story.

However, there is a certain energy and virtual glee from Powell when things get brutally violent and gruesome. Suddenly, there are splashes of bright color, especially from blood, and the pacing is measured and never rushed. It's as though he allows the scenes to recoil like a cobra and then lash out to strike fiercely, only to recoil again and strike even harder.

Powell and Wiesch want you to be as angry as Big Man. They want you to know what he knows and why he has to do what he does. In order to that you have to hate as he hates. The use of another flashback demonstrates the acts for which Big Man will make them pay. It's disturbing, cruel and dehumanizing. Are you mad yet? You will be. 

It's that primal anger and disgust that carries you to root for Big Man even more. He's no angel obviously, more of a psycho, but he's our psycho. He represents the underdog in all of us. As a dwarf, he's taken more than his share of ridicule and abuse. If you've ever been discounted for one reason or another but never had the strength or courage to fight back then this is the fantasy revenge story for you. Big Man is living out our vengeance for us in extreme and exaggerated ways, but man is he effective. 

Big Man Plans is unapologetically violent, nearly exploitative, with a sense of justice that is cruel and unusual and we wouldn't want it any other way. 


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