Blood Tree #4 Review

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi

Artist: Maxim Simic

Colorist: John Kalisz

Letterer: Rob Leigh

Cover Artists: Christian Alamy & Brad Anderson

Publisher: Image

Price: $3.99

Release Date: May 3, 2023

New York detectives Dario Azzaro and Maria Diaz are hunting a serial killer. The killer’s M.O.? He kills killers, and then he kills their families too. Family members without a criminal record receive additional attention. He attaches handmade feather wings to their backs and hangs them in a tree. Acting on Father Duffy’s suggestion, the detectives have centered their investigation on Catholic churches in the Bronx. After someone reported a man killing birds with a slingshot, they nearly captured him at Van Cortlandt Park. So, are they any closer to finding this twisted servant of the Almighty? Let’s delve into Blood Tree #4 and find out!

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Dario Azzaro and Maria Diaz have visited dozens of Catholic churches in the Bronx, searching for an angelic ceiling mural that inspired their killer. Although Diaz ribs Azzaro about his age, childhood memories led him to discover the mural that inspired the Blood Tree. Issue #4 opens where the last one ended, with the detectives searching Owen Fincher’s apartment.


They study a tree painted on one wall, with victims’ names written on its limbs. Scraps of paper that resemble tombstone etchings reveal more names. Azzaro turns off the lights to find glowing crosses on the ceiling. Angels hanging on strings also glow. Their search yields files on murderers and their families, which prompts the mayor to order the police to place hundreds of people in protective custody.

The following morning, they discover another winged body hanging naked in the suspension cables on Brooklyn Bridge. But the spark that lights Blood Tree #4‘s fuse concerns Dario Azzaro. A revelation makes him question who he is and what makes him tick.

There’s much to like—and yes, dislike—in this issue. Dario regularly refers to classic songs, and the detectives often visit scenic locales. I also like how Owen Fincher sees himself as protecting the innocent before their tainted blood—or that of their descendants—inevitably leads them to hurt others. On the other hand, this issue’s angel only ends up hanging dramatically from the cables due to chance—he could have easily been found on the bridge or in the river. Still, the biggest win for this issue is the revelation that blows up Dario’s life. Although his dedication to his job previously irritated his wife, I liked how she reacted to the situation.


Artist Maxim Simic works page by page rather than across multiple pages. His drawings have a charming hand-drawn appeal. They convey characters’ emotions, movements, buildings, parks, and vehicles equally well. While a small percentage of panels dispense with backgrounds, most offer convincing settings. I loved the scenes in Owen Fincher’s apartment and the Brooklyn Bridge and how Simic relays Azzaro’s phone conversation with Fincher. Yet later, amid a meltdown in his car, I couldn’t tell what Detective Azzaro was breaking.

Colorist John Kalisz contributes a pleasing combination of hues to each panel. They convey highlights and shadows. Most backgrounds—especially those left blank—are richly textured. Beautiful colors fill the sky as the sun rises over the angel hanging on Brooklyn Bridge. The crosses and angels glow with heavenly light in Owen Fincher’s darkened apartment.

While on the small side, black uppercase letters fill white dialogue balloons. In earlier issues, I thought they could have been larger. They’re probably appropriate here. In Blood Tree #4, writer Peter J. Tomasi gives us twenty-five story pages, and artist Maxim Simic averages over five panels per page. Most of those panels—perhaps 80-90%–feature at least one dialogue balloon or sound effect. Many have several balloons. Although letterer Rob Leigh uses narrative boxes, they’re solely to convey location. Whether talking or shouting, the characters converse in the present. No narrative boxes comment on past events. No balloons relate thoughts. Tomasi and Leigh dish out plenty to read in this issue while leaving us hungry for more.

Final Thoughts

Their hunt for the angel killer has tested Dario Azzaro and Maria Diaz. A discovery this time out makes Detective Azzaro’s investigation incredibly personal. If Tomasi’s story and Maxim’s art invited you to this party, but you hoped for something to kick it into high gear, Blood Tree #4’s the issue you’ve been waiting for.


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