Review | Chuck #4
In the last issue of Chuck, Team Bartowski managed to escape from the mysterious Fulcrum agent, Blaine's, rogue animal cloning facility, with the help of his assistant Paola. Their daring escape leads them through the Amazon, and into the Swiss Alps to her secret base, filled with her team of a lady, escort assassins. But at the team gets closer and closer to Paola, they begin to suspect something fishy...
Casey continues to be the best written character, truly matching his television counterpart, and bringing the dry and sarcastic wit we all love. The art is still very much a mixed-bad, but manages to do a serviceable job...though, truth be told I'd prefer it the art was either more realistic, and representative of the actual Chuckiverse characters, or taken in the opposite direction, resembling something akin to the more cartoon covers.
The story dovetails into a series of obvious plot twists, that you can't help but see coming. The help of Paola in the last issue seemed to come out of nowhere, and never for a second did I believe that there weren't ulterior motives behind her helping out Sarah. Speaking of Sarah, her flashback last issue apparently had no relevance to Paola as it was never finished, thus making her decision to help, and then her twist this issue not only seem completely obvious, but brought no emotional weight or relevance to Sarah. At that point, why even bring up the flashback last issue if it had no pertinence to either Sarah's on-off romance with Chuck seeing as how it dealt with Bryce; why bring up the fact that she ran into Paola, if nothing ever happened between the two in the past, or at least nothing we've been shown?
Which brings me to my next complaint about this issue and series in general, is that the continuity has always been shaky. Be it in the story-telling, character dialog, interactions, and relationships, and it's been consistently lacking in the art department as well.
But the biggest crime this issue commits, is the "jump-the-shark" twist at the end, that not only seems like something that would NEVER take place in the Chuckiverse, but is just too ridiculous and ludicrous to justify in almost any comic book. You really want to know what they're setting up... the cloning of the President, most likely for "evil" purposes. Yes, it really is that inane. And it's even worse when in the context of the story.
Honestly, I'm glad that this is only a six-issue run, because the only reason I'm continuing to read these is the fact that I know there's only a finite number of them. This series has been struggling with getting the essence of the Chuck characters down for awhile, sometimes they've succeeded, but mostly they haven't, and with each passing issue it's becoming more and more apparent that the writers aren't even trying to keep this within the Universe they set out to expand. With as great characters as the television show has, it's a shame to see most of them lost to one-note jokes and lame mis-characterizations. The charm is long gone, and what's left with this last issue is one strong supporting character carrying two bland stereotypes through a mediocre-turned-laughably harebrained storyline.