May 08, 2012
Written by Warren Ellis Drawn by Garrie Gastonny
Review by Gavin O’Reilly
This trade collects issues 1-5 of the original limited series run from 2009 by Avatar Press. This comic rocks. The premise is fairly simple- what if Superhumans were utilised solely for the purposes of international arms races? Not a completely original idea (See: Doctor Manhattan in Watchmen, or Superman in The Dark Knight Returns), but this is the first where I have seen it explored quite so thoroughly- it really is country against country, and how terribly wrong it does indeed turn out- not everything really goes to plan. If you are a fan of Warren Ellis, and his style, then this is right up your street. Somehow it feels like a 2000AD style sci-fi tale, playing with modern conventions of the American superhero.
The device used for narration is very nice, as we hear and see the tale through a British scientist involved in the whole calamity, both directly and as a spectator to the superhuman developments of other countries. If you like original powers and inventive use of them, then this tale wont disappoint- the super weapon from China is frighteningly innovative. Creepy, in fact.
While not familiar with Gastonny’s work previously, I am happy to say that this is a great introduction to it- it is lush- expressive (and one of my favourite aspects to an artist)- rich in detail. I am actually tempted to hunt down more of his work, just because it’s pretty- lets see where that trail leads me.
Although the tale touches on and plays with themes of politics and religion- I don’t think it ever gets too heady (although I do like political intrigue in my sci-fi anyway).This collection is dark, entertaining and thought provoking- and key- self contained; this would be an excellent collection to pass onto someone new to comics- it certainly does the form justice.