The Fourth Power

Writer / Artist
The Fourth Power
The Fourth Power review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Humanoids - 1-930652-36-4
  • Release date: 1989
  • English language release date: 2000
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Science-Fiction

Argentinian artist Juan Giménez was fêted around Europe for his visionary science fiction artwork, and although The Fourth Power eventually grew into a quartet of graphic novels, for well over a decade there was only this opening story.

The initial scenes of naked or near-naked women being abducted by a bunch of armoured men followed by a global announcement that Earth is declaring war on the Krommiuns really set the stage. There’s some phenomenal art, gratuitous sex, and nothing makes a lot of sense. That’s okay for the opening pages, but the sample art is around a third of the way through, and there’s still no real indication as to what’s happening. There have been some amazingly drawn aerial battles and other astonishingly detailed technology, though.

As far as can be made out, Exether Mega, the Krommium woman on the motorcycle is looking to avenge the deaths of comrades. Giménez just drops in halfway through that she’s able to glimpse the future, one of several items introduced just at the point when they’re most convenient for the plot. They do actually have a greater purpose, but that’s a long time in coming, so the foreshadowing is poor. Earth officials, meanwhile, are represented by comedy, ranting types.

It turns out Mega is the fourth power, needed to combine with three other women with phenomenal minds, and that combination will change the progress of the war, but by that point it’s only a reader with great persistence who still cares.

Giménez is an incredible artist, his technique so accomplished that art fans may be so stunned that any story is just a bonus. Most, however will want more.

When Humanoids published this UK translation of the 1989 graphic novel in 2000, Giménez appeared finished with the project, yet wasn’t. Between 2003 and 2008 he completed three further stories in the same world, all combined for the 2017 edition of The Fourth Power, although just this and the sequel were issued as The Fourth Power during Humanoids’ brief collaboration with DC. Fans of the art will probably want The Deluxe Giménez in hardcover, which features all four volumes alongside another four chapter story with an equally complex publication history.