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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse


Writers: Michael Mendheim, Mike Kennedy and Sean Jaffe
Artists: Simon Bisley with Ivan Khivrenko, Joel Boucquemont, Vince Proce and Dave Devries
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: £19.99
Suggest for Mature Readers
978 1 78276 065 8
273 pages
Publication Date: 03 September 2014

The end of the world, and specifically the role of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, have, for a long time, been a favourite subject matter of both literature and comic books, so it’s hard to see how anyone can have an original take on the subject.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse has been collected together and reprinted by Titan. The comic book was created by Michael Mendheim. The script was written by Mendheim, Mike Kennedy and Sean Jaffe. The books were illustrated by Simon Bisley with Ivan Khivrenko, Joel Boucquemont, Vince Proce and Dave Devries, although to be honest there is a standardisation within the art, so it is difficult to say who contributed what in the art department.

The comic originally appeared in Heavy Metal and anyone familiar with that magazine will realise that strips can range from sparse to dense, heavily coloured big boobed babes and blood, Horsemen falls into the latter category.

The story was originally meant to be the basis of a computer game, but with the demise of developer 3DO, the decision was made to turn the story into a graphic novel.

The book revolves around protagonist Cahill, one of the protectors of the seven seals, seals which could unleash hell on earth if they fall into the wrong hands. He’s an interesting character, a reluctant hero with a loving wife and daughter, who are both his strength and his Achilles heel. When his wife is killed in an attack and his daughter comes under threat, as a good father he will do almost anything to protect what is left of his family, even kill himself, which is how the story opens.

In truth, the horsemen can be stopped, but only by people who, because of their lifestyle choices, would be barred from heaven. Such a death allows Cahill access to purgatory and hell, where he must seek out three other beings, a junky, a killer and a past confederate of the devil. The twist in the tale is that Cahill must persuade these three unlikely allies to fight against the horsemen, because they are the progenitors, being made up of their own culminated evil.

The pace of the story is swift, the whole plot takes up a little over two hundred pages (with the remainder of the book's 273 pages containing sketches and background information) but the tale is well mapped. The art is darkly extreme, with rivers of blood, spectacularly gruesome bad guys and battles strewn with lopped limbs and intestines, it’s not for the faint of heart, but should appeal to those familiar with Heavy Metal or fans of horror.


Charles Packer

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