The Valley of the Shadow of Death (Little Bird #5 “The Fight for Elder’s Hope, Chapter Five” Comic Review)

Created by: Ian Bertram & Darcy Van Poelgeest

Written by: Darcy Van Poelgeest

Art by: Ian Bertram

Colors by: Matt Hollingsworth

Letters by: Aditya Bidikar

Design by: Ben Didier

“If you’re feeling lost, then go back to where you last remember seeing yourself.”

In This Issue: Bishop is mourning the loss of a child—but which? Surely Little Bird wouldn’t give rise to so much raw emotion in a man determined to do away with everything she stood for, but it seems that there is some question as to whether it is her remains underneath the cross before which Bishop kneels…or Gabriel’s. The Mother Superior interrupts his mourning to send him and the Vatican Knights to Elder’s Hope, where Sarge’s ship has been spotted.

Sarge has picked up where The Axe left off. He’s found the ‘Hog and is tunneling his way underneath Northern Guard. The plan was for him to set the ‘Hog to autopilot and lie low until the remainder of the resistance came to find him, but he has other ideas.

The Crusader whose life Little Bird spared, who then captured her and delivered her to Bishop, is now piloting Sarge’s ship—accompanied by Little Bird.

It was Gabriel who died in Bishop’s flames.

The ship carrying the Crusader, Little Bird, and the last of the resistance comes to land within an area just outside Elder’s Hope protected by Vatican Knights. As the battle begins, Little Bird enters the caves of Elder’s Hope to free the prisoners kept there—the children of the resistance, now being forcefully educated in the Church’s doctrine. As Little Bird dispatches the guards and teacher in charge of the children, Bishop and his forces arrive, carving a swath of death through the resistance fighters toward the caves. Once there, he and Little Bird battle one-on-one. It looks as though Bishop is bound to win, but then the air in the caves started to be sucked out, back toward the outside. The Crusader, in a final act of rebellion, obliterates the Vatican Knights, Bishop, Little Bird, and herself.

The children are left to rebuild.

We meander back through a dream—a dream of Little Bird’s past. Tantoo. The Axe. Bishop.

Little Bird returns to the remains of her home village. Builds a house. Waits.

“It doesn’t end here. Not like this.”

My Two Cents: The final installment of the Little Bird miniseries is just as full of twists and turns as the myriad entrails that twine their way through the art of the book. The action is constant, the plot speeds along at breakneck pace, and even the moments of stillness thrum with tension. As always, the writing and art are seamlessly integrated. There are so many levels to this story—this will be one of those books people come back to and take away something different with each reading. The cinematic quality it has carried is possibly even stronger in this final issue, and that somehow highlights the massive, massive weight of the themes driving the story. Little Bird is meant to be a one-time thing, and though there have been rumors of possible extra content in some fashion, it would be perfect left as it is—a horrifically beautiful testament to the never ending battle of blind faith versus free will.

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Elizabeth Fazzio
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--
Elizabeth Fazzio
This book evoked so many feelings for me: excitement, fear, anger, disgust, anguish...hope. I can't do it justice in a paragraph, and it may be that I can't do it justice at all with my words. It was an out of control freight train—all you could do was hold on and hope your grip held up. I had more physical and out-loud reactions to Little Bird than I have had with any other comic I can remember. It is more than a book—it is an experience. You feel it. It stays with you after you put it down and walk away. It haunts you. If that isn't the mark of an excellent work of fiction, I don't know what is.
  • Art and story blend seamlessly
  • Layered storytelling
  • It's over! :(
Art - 9
Story - 9
Writing - 9
Predictability - 8
Written by
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--

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