I’ve just been charging through comics lately and Deus Ex #4 hasn’t slowed my progress. There’s a whole lot going down in the Children’s Crusade series right now, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting this latest instalment – as always, you may find a few spoilers in the next few paragraphs. I’ve got to be honest though, I seriously thought it was Task Force 29 who abducted Emilia in the last issue. But it seems like I’ve got things totally wrong. The dude who looked like Mac wasn’t Mac and they weren’t working with Sebastian. So sorry for any confusion I caused there! Still, it seems that someone from the taskforce, or at least an affiliate, did assist in (and/or possibly orchestrate) the kidnapping, so I’m guessing this will be revealed in the final issue.
Now, Issue 4 plays out with a definite sense of urgency and this fast pace has obviously been set up by the slower issues that preceded it. So here’s the return of that lurking sense of danger and conspiracy that typically overhangs Deus Ex titles. It’s a welcome homecoming. It adds a thrill to the reading process that, if I’m honest, has been lacking from the series thus far.
So Emilia’s missing, Titus King is taking his hate mongering to a new level and Jensen is investigating King’s studio for links to the illuminati and the aug-terrorists. We see Sebastian – the head of the terrorists – rallying a group of child soldiers to action, and berating those children that refuse to participate. He arms these kids and even has one of them plant a bomb.
All the while, on the other side of things, Titus King is interviewing one of the foremost voices in the European pro-human movement. This is happening on a balcony in the Glasshutte overlooking massive crowds of both support and opposition. The interview is the usual type of propaganda we’ve learnt to expect from Titus. Of course, the crowd is getting increasingly rowdy. And the task force are forced to respond – because an injunction would take forever and King isn’t listening to the attempts to convince him to move his show.
At King’s studio, Jensen is investigating the aforementioned conspiracies. There’s a clever little bit of dialogue here – ‘the thing about arrogant people is they tend to have lousy security because they think they’re smarter than every body else’ – which stood out as one of the series’ best one-liners. Of course, Jensen breaks through the thin security. And what he discovers is a real ‘boom moment’ in the series: Sebastian is Titus King’s son, who during the aug-incident killed his mother/Titus’ wife. So there’s our reason for Titus’ hate, and to be honest, it almost legitimises his position. I mean, the dude’s still an asshat but at least there’s a bit of humanity in him now. Long story short Jensen is shocked, the Task Force are shocked and we’re shocked too.
The writer’s haven’t held back in Issue 4 because this proverbial ‘boom moment’ is followed very quickly by a literal one. The scene of Titus’ interview erupts with a vicious explosion and is stormed by an army of aug terrorists. The threads of the issue come together here: this is the bomb the child planted earlier. Titus is kidnapped and the Glasshutte is overwhelmed with violence. Jensen and the Task Force approach the scene and the comic ends with an image of Emilia firing a rifle. Her face is twisted as she stands with the terrorists and she fires at their enemies. This was a shocking conclusion and a clever narrative choice. In Emilia we see both sides of the conflict and the effects that it can have on young and impressionable minds.
Issue #5 can’t come fast enough.