After a series of unfortunate events, Neena Thurman finally decided to take a vacation. Well, if you can call it a vacation. DOMINO #4 depicts our titular mercenary embarking on a quest in Lantau Island of Hong Kong. There she hopes to attain more control of her powers with the help of Shang-Chi. Unfortunately for Domino, the training she receives is much more rigorous than she anticipated.

Gail Simone brings another worthy adventure to her DOMINO run. She provides readers with revelations regarding the intertwined pasts of Topaz and Domino as well as new characters who will undoubtedly play a large part in Domino’s adventures soon enough.

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DOMINO #4 page 1. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The Untold Story of Desmond and Cynthia

The opening of DOMINO #4 is the highlight of the issue’s narrative as it provides significant insight into the villainous Topaz’s past. We come to learn her own father was in charge of Project Armageddon, the operation that experimented on children and ultimately birthed Domino’s abilities. Interestingly, Topaz hates her father and his cruelty upon the children in the facility.

As a result of this hatred, she expresses compassion towards one of the children in particular: Desmond. He is a mutant who maintains a strange ability that causes him to randomly injure himself. Topaz’s father expresses absolutely no sympathy towards Desmond, viewing him as a monster due to his mutant status. So begins Topaz’s rage, one she projects onto humans — the ones she perceives to be the real monsters of the world.

Following this sequence, DOMINO #4 jumps to the present day where Diamondback and Outlaw are discussing Domino’s recent vacation to Hong Kong. They conclude that Domino spared them the details of her “vacation” because she believes one of her friends may be working with Topaz.

DOMINO #3 Takes Neena on a Much-Needed Vacation

The Adventures of Diamondback and Outlaw

Diamondback and Outlaw can’t stand the idea that their friend has lost trust in them. So, they vow to go after Topaz herself, which they actually succeed in doing. Unfortunately, their confrontation with Topaz results in a bitter battle. Also, a grown-up Desmond makes an appearance as “Prototype”. He claims responsibility for the birth of Domino’s powers since he believes that everything she ever gained during their time in the facility made him weaker. So, Domino is not his favorite person.

Meanwhile, Domino is training with Shang-Chi. Because of her experiences with Topaz manipulating her abilities, she wants to take back some control. During her time with Shang-Chi, she attains some pretty useful training as well as some feelings towards her teacher. As a result, they decide to go dancing. Unfortunately, their fun ends when some bad guys show up and threaten to kill Shang-Chi.

Like its predecessors, DOMINO #4 is witty and comprises non-stop entertainment. The revelations regarding Topaz’s past are exceptionally developed, bringing much-needed context into the narrative. However, Domino’s storyline in this particular work feels static. Though we witness her training process, we don’t really get a grasp on the extent of the training nor how it will help Domino in the long run. As a result, DOMINO #4 doesn’t give as much of the character development previous installments have provided Neena Thurman, resulting in an issue that falls short of its potential.

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DOMINO #4 page 11. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The Many Hues of DOMINO #4

In my opinion, the artwork of DOMINO thus far has not been one of the series’ stronger points. As a result, those sentiments continue in regard to DOMINO #4. I am personally not the biggest fan of the cartoonish appearances of the issue’s characters.

With that being said, I adore the execution of the opening sequence that reveals Topaz’s past. Jesus Aburtov’s coloring is exceptional. He implements a wonderful blend of red and gray that captures the coldness of Project Armageddon as well as its brutality. Also, David Baldeón’s depiction of Desmond’s arm breaking is totally disturbing, allowing readers to fear and sympathize with his tragic mutant ability.

Overall, this opening sequence successfully depicts the monsters of Domino’s world and how far those monsters are willing to go to get what they want. Thus, I wish the images in that opening sequence trickled through the issue. Many of the pages’ transitions and panels lack cohesive transitions. As a result, the artwork of DOMINO #4 as a whole feels loose in its tone and consistency.

What Lies Beyond

DOMINO #4 provides readers with some much-needed answers regarding Topaz and her bitterness towards Domino. The inclusion of Desmond and Topaz’s backstories are worthy additions to this run’s narrative. They ultimately set up potential for a great arc. Unfortunately for Domino, she’s got a lot more on her plate than she anticipated. From new threats targeting Shang-Chi to the safety of her friends, Domino will have a lot to face in her next adventure.

The question is, will she prevail?

DOMINO #4 by Gail Simone, David Baldeón, & Jesus Aburtov
DOMINO #4 is yet another good time in Simone's run on the character. Unfortunately, this issue feels more like filler than movement.
75 %
a bump in the road
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One Comment

  1. […] Shang-Chi is arguably the most skilled fighter in the Marvel Universe, and mastery of his chi (or life energy) allows him to surpass normal human limits. He is also adept at multiple weapon styles and has been a member of HEROES FOR HIRE and THE AVENGERS. Shang-Chi gets the power to duplicate himself after being exposed to cosmic radiation in Jonathan Hickman’s AVENGERS run. He hasn’t exhibited the ability since then, but his appearances are few and far between, most recently in Gail Simone’s DOMINO. […]


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