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Creative Team: Brian BuccellatoStefano Simeone, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou via IMAGE COMICS

It’s all about family and your support system – one thing Kwan continues to realize how lucky he truly is as he continues to figure things out as a middle aged superhero. This story continues to have a ton of heart and a refreshing take on the superhero genre. It’s no wonder why this series continues to be a favorite of the N.I. Bullpen! For this review it’s another group discussion with our Editor in Chief Ken and myself to discuss the latest installment of the series!




Midlife #4 continues to unravel the intricate tapestry of Ruben Kwan’s life, deftly juggling his superhero duties and the challenges of family. Brian Buccellato’s writing skillfully weaves the ongoing backstory, setting the tone by highlighting Kwan’s past struggles. The narrative brilliantly showcases the dichotomy between his superhero persona and the familial responsibilities he grapples with, portraying a relatable struggle of balancing two disparate worlds.

The aftermath of the Maroon Suits’ attempted kidnapping introduces a compelling dynamic, bringing the dangers closer to Kwan’s domestic haven. The decision to bring home Agent Brown, wounded in the previous issue, adds layers to the narrative, showcasing Kwan’s sense of responsibility beyond the superhero suit. The revelation of a secret agency tracking him down in earlier issues deepens the mystery, leaving readers with more questions than answers, a testament to Buccellato’s talent for building suspense

What sets this issue apart is the exploration of the support system surrounding Kwan. It beautifully depicts the interconnected relationships, offering a nuanced view of parenthood and heroism. Annie (Kwan’s wife) emerges as a force to be reckoned with, adding a refreshing dimension to her character.


Buccellato never shies away from showing Ruben Kwan as a flawed character. The flashback sequence mirrors the trouble he now finds himself in. The drama never escapes him as the encounter with the Maroon suits isn’t without complications. That said, without question, the MVP of this issue is Annie.

The writing reflects her love and protective instincts when it comes to her family. The encounter with the Maroon suit is informative and shows her mean streak when needed. The conversation with Ruben after plays into how surprisingly well Annie is adapting to the superhero world. This is another strength to Ruben’s advantage as his story gets more out of control. He will need this with the revelations of the final act. The mystery set-up will have a tremendous payoff later that won’t want to be missed.



The lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou contributes significantly to the storytelling, amplifying the impact of Annie (Kwan’s wife’s) strength. Moreover, the art itself remains a standout feature, characterized by a unique style that blends roughness with intricate detailing. The paneling techniques, particularly the full-page spread with a blurred background and a central focal point, evoke a sense of mystery reminiscent of a campfire storytelling session. The emotional beats hit harder due to the minimalistic and soft color palette employed by Stefano Simeone, emphasizing the details in the art to convey the characters’ emotions.

Simeone gives readers a deeper insight to Ruben with an array of panels. The flashback sequence connects with readers with bold panels depicting the crash. This is followed up by an excellent full page panel of Ruben describing how much he messed up. Luckily, he had Annie involved. Simeone captures her reactions to the situation and brings her anger to life. Her “interrogation” sequence works to break the serious tone up for a bit before circling back on the drama.

Otsmane-Elhaou lettering during those panels exemplified Annie’s way of business. Events were brought back down when tragedy strikes Ruben. The art reflects the moment in question as a somber one. This leads into the final series of events. The art mirrors Ruben’s uncomfortably manner of dealing with events. This adds another level to the final panels. The closing images suggest there is more to Ruben’s path other than diving intervention.

Final Thoughts:


This clever combination of storytelling elements warrants the issue’s high praise. This series consistently delivers on it’s ability to maintain suspense, deliver emotional resonance, and set the stage for future developments. As readers eagerly await the next installment, Midlife #4 solidifies its position as a standout entry in the series, offering a rich and engaging narrative coupled with exceptional artistry.

Overall Grade: 8.75 out of 10

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The story of Ruben Kwan has the spotlight shift to another character with a stellar issue fans will want to read. Buccellato crafts the caring nature of Anni while maintaining the mystery of Ruben’s powers with excellent writing. Simeone leads the art with powerful imagery conveying the impact of Ruben’s new stat quo as it sets a new path into some mysteries yet to be solved.



Your friendly neighborhood SCUBA Instructor that loves comic books, movies and casual gaming. Data Engineer by day comic book reader by night! Comic Reviewer for Nerd Initiative! Also into show skiing, wakeboarding and snowboarding

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