Saturday, 22 August 2009

The Complete Indigo Prime Review

I'd known about Indigo Prime for quite a while after the trade was first released, and characters Winwood and Cord made an appearance at the end of John Smiths so-so recent 2000ad strip Dead Eyes, but despite being about one of my favorite subjects, parallel universes, I'd not had the chance to pick it up. Until now.

The title 'The Complete Indigo Prime' is a bit of a misnomer, its still missing the text stories and the Future Shock strip that it first appeared in, but we still get the crux of the series, starting with Freelance agents Fervent and Lobe. Be advised, Indigo Prime isn't about parallel universes in the traditional sense that things like Luthor Arkwrite were, Its less about Alternative Realities and more about different planes of existence. In this sense its quite similar to Planescape. The book contains several stories, so we'll look at them one at a time, to examine the whole.

Fervent & Lobe kicks us off, and immediately is a bit difficult to follow to begin with, being mixed with a post adventure stage play taking place in flash forward. While a bit over the place, F&L has an interesting trip to hell and is a humorous story that doesn't outstay its welcome.

Next up we have a one off intro to Indigo Prime proper, not much to say about this story really, other than it helps us understand the characters world a bit better.

The we have Winwood and Cords first outing., another small one with not much to talk about. It is a nice surreal time travel yarn, with Chris Heston's art bringing out the strangeness of the characters.

Following on we have Ferdigo & Brecht's one and only outing. The story is too short to get a feel of the characters, so I can't honestly say weather or not I'd like to see more of them. It is a nice little fable about commercialism however.

Spinning off from F&L we have Almaranda's solo strip. Again, not much to say about this one, the arts nice but it merely feels like an extended Future Shock.

Holiday on Ice brings us Fervent & Lobe's second outing, which is really when the book starts to kick in. The story is a nice grisly and surreal tail, with humour and mystery abound. Quite a few British cultural references pop up, with a deformed and mutilated Alan Bennett being the most disturbing one.

Last but not least is Killing Time, the story that makes the whole book worth it. Killing Time is a nice supernatural time travel mystery thriller. Winwood and Cord get put to good use and we really get a feel for the characters. The story is paced well enough so we get some brooding menace throughout, and wraps it up in a thrilling finale. While the ending might be a bit confusing, everything else in the story is top dollar. The best part is the art, with the Indigo agents being colored differently to everything else as a subtle reminder that they are not quite a normal part of they're environment.

So there you go, while some of the stories are lacking the books worth buying just for Holiday on Ice and Killing Time, and I hope Indigo Prime's recent cameo in 2000ad means we'll be getting more in the future.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

The Legend of Jenny Everywhere Part 2

Well, here it is, Part 2 of my full colour Jenny Everywhere comic, seems like I've been working on it for ages. I'm more satisfied with the artwork this time round, it feels alot more polished and consistent.

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Stick around and hopefully part 3 will be done in a couple of months, and swoop by the shifer archive because we're still looking for people to contribute to the colaberative project we're working on.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Review: Queen and Country Definitive Edition Vol 1

I came across Queen and Country in the 500 Essential Novels and seeing it on the shelf in Traveling Man I was astounded to see how thick the volume was. Underneath was a recommendation from one of the staff members so I decided to pick it up during my grueling selection process I go through when it comes to buying comics.

Queen and Country is written by Greg Rucka, unbeknown to me, not a fellow countryman, which comes as the first highpoint for the comic. The story follows government operative Tara Chase and her colleagues and overvrlings on various missions of international security. Right away the series reminds me of TV series Spooks and was apparently inspired by old ITV series The Sandbaggers, it does have a low budget TV feel to it, and this is no bad thing.

To its credit the series is interesting and varied, its not over the top and a lot of the storyline is clever and sometimes quite deep, Tara's character is interesting and is layered enough to keep her interesting through the missions. The art is unconventional, this is good though, it makes the series stand out from something like 2000ad's recent Graysuit, and it doesn't hurt the tone at all, the shift in artist however does do a little bit of damage however.

The first arc drawn by Steve Rolston sees Tara as, while not unattractive, a bit of a plain Jane, she's not some buxom heroin but more of a regular girl in less than regular circumstances, which is a nice change to the usual action girl stereotype. By the second arc Brian Hurtt draws Tara as being slightly more attractive, but she don't lose any of her previous aesthetics, visually you can see she is still the same character. Unfortunately, by the third arc Leandro Fernández draws Tara as a buxom action girl, always wearing tight revealing clothing. 'Oh dear' my mind thinks, the other characters stay pretty much the same, but the visual change of Tara is so jarring that it practically ruins the third arc, which is up to standard in all other respects.

Other than that Queen and Country is certainly worth it, and I didn't even know that Rucka was American till I'd finished the story. Its interesting comparing it to Hellsing, which is also a story about British intelligence (Though more unconventional) because Queen and Country has exactly what Hellsing lacks in being convincingly British, and thats where it scores points in my book.