In Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4, we finally come to the end of the tale of Ersa and her past. Oh, and the hunt for Korl too. But Ersa’s tale was way more interesting.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4 cover A.
Hey, Aloy? You might want to pay more attention behind you. I think that’s a Thunderjaw sneaking up on you. Cover A artist: Pasquale Qualano.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4 is the 4th and final issue of the Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation comic book series (you can read reviews for #1, #2, and #3 here), which is itself based on the Horizon Zero Dawn video game by Guerilla Games. The comic book features Anne Toole and Ben McCaw as the writers with Elmer Damaso as the artist. Pasquale Qualano, Mike Azevedo & Ilya Golitsyn, and Harvey Tolibao are responsible for the covers. Oh, and lastly, Titan Comics are the publishers for this comic book.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4 cover B.
You can tell it’s game concept art due to the high quality. Cover B artist: Mike Azevedo & Ilya Golitsyn.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4 was released on January 5, 2022. You can purchase print copies at your local comic book shop. Or, if you don’t feel like walking, you can go online to Titan Comics to order the comic, either in print or digital.

Alan Grant: “You bred Stalkers?” Cover C artist: Harvey Tolibao.

Warning: spoilers for Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4 below. If you want to find out for yourself how Ersa’s backstory ends, stop here, and come back once Meridian has been retaken.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4 ~ Plot Summary

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4 preview page 1.
Ah, that rock-climbing is giving me so many memories from the game.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4 picks up where we last left off when Aloy had a clue as to where Korl had fled to after he’d sicced a Stormbird on them via a machine lure. Aloy found a bit of loot from the merchant Korl had murdered at the beginning of this hunt. This leads her to conclude that Korl is likely going to try and sell his stolen loot. Thus, she and Erend lie in wait in a nearby market to ambush him when he does arrive.

The wait gives Erend the opportunity to finish his story about Ersa’s past. Picking up from where he last left off on the last issue of Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation, we find Ersa and Avad’s forces beginning the assault on Meridian. A few hiccups occur during the fighting, resulting in a lot of chaos that allowed the Shadow Carja to escape with the Sun Queen and the young Prince Itamen. Players of Horizon Zero Dawn will remember this particular side quest.

Anyways, the hiccups stop mattering when Ersa and Avad finally break into Mad Sun King Jiran’s palace. Ultimately though, Avad just couldn’t murder his own father, leaving Ersa to do the job in his stead. She gives him the credit for it though, just so the regicide can be more legitimate. With the Mad Sun King dead, Meridian and the Carja are now finally free to stop the senseless slaughter said Mad Sun King kept ordering. It seemed like a happy ending was going to be in store for Ersa and Avad. Unfortunately, Ersa made one very critical mistake: she left Dervahl alive.

Rule #1: Always Make Sure Your Enemies Are Dead

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4 preview page 2.
It’s a shame the planning of the assault on Meridian didn’t leave Ersa time to make sure Dervahl was well and truly dead.

Ersa left Dervahl to someone who hated his guts, but the guy was more interested in torturing Dervahl than killing him. In the end, Korl slays the guards over Dervahl’s pit-cell, and rescues him. Thus, setting up the story from Horizon Zero Dawn, where Dervahl ultimately gets his fatal revenge on Ersa.

Meanwhile, back in the present day of Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4, Aloy and Erend finally spot Korl. They attempt to arrest him, but Korl uses another machine lure to attract a pair of nearby Longlegs (basically giant robot attack chickens). Aloy takes on the Longlegs, while Erend goes after Korl. Their combined might during the battle takes down the Longlegs, and finally downs Korl. But before Erend can take him alive, Korl pulls the pin off of a grenade, taking himself out with a bang to avoid whatever fate lies in store for Oseram traitors.

Afterward, Aloy consoles Erend over both their inability to take Korl alive, and Ersa’s failure to keep herself alive as well. Erend takes solace from this and manages to reach a sort of peace with Ersa’s death. Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation ends with Aloy and Erend relaxing together, content to put Aloy’s journey on hold, just for a little while.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4 ~ The Good

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4 preview page 3.
The one-time freeing prisoners isn’t good.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4 is a very good conclusion to the comic book series as a whole. The ending feels very satisfying in the way Erend finally comes to terms with his sister’s death, and in the way, Aloy hangs around to cheer him up too. Shippers of Aloy and Erend would probably squeal over this scene. Personally, I don’t mind the ship, and I can see the appeal of it due to their strong emotional bond. Personally though, as a yuri fan, I’d go with the ships between Aloy and, say, Petra or Talanah. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Korl’s end also feels very much in-character for him. Given what we know of how the Oseram punishes traitors, it’s not surprising that Korl chose to go quickly rather than slowly and painfully. And there’s nothing quicker than a grenade to the face.

I also like the references to Horizon Zero Dawn game in the comic. That bit about how the Shadow Carja escapes with the Sun Queen and Prince Itamen is a nice callback to the game. It’s a very nice touch there that the game fans will appreciate.

Finally, the art by Elmer Damaso continues to be excellent as always right up to the last issue of Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation. I rather like it, really. There’s an almost manga-like quality to his artwork that I find appealing. I wouldn’t mind reading more comics using his art in the future.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4 ~ The Bad

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4 preview page 4.
Turns out, bad things happen when there’s a lot of chaos.

Eh, not much I can nitpick about Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4. You know, as a fan of the original game and is eagerly awaiting Horizon Forbidden West? Perhaps the one thing I’d complain about is not seeing a more extended epilogue showing more of Aloy and Erend relaxing together. You know, because they both just went through a life-threatening quest? Still, the scene we got was nice enough that I’m not too picky about it.

Source: Titan Comics