July 21, 2014

"I'm ready for anything."
Joe Keatinge & Ross Campbell
Image Comics, 2014
352 pages, cmyk, digital

Glory is another (the other is Prophet) of "infamous" creator Rob Liefield's comics that had a recent makeover.
In the hands of Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell's, Glory was transformed from a Wonder Woman clone to a more classic science fiction oriented character with a pinch of japanese influences.
The reeinvisioned Gloriana Demeter is an alien from another world, a (literal) by-product of two warring factions and a symbol for peace - one way or the other.
To escape her legacy as a living weapon she found sanctuary on a small planet called Earth, where she naturally played the part of superheroine. And then she was gone.
Riley is a small woman that has regular dreams about Glory. It so happens that her dreams are real and so she begins a quest to find what happened to Glory. 
Spoilers, she ends up finding Glory and that is when our book takes flight.
There is a substancial departure from the older version of the character, instead of a sexy vixen with an abnormally flexible spinal column, we have a hulked-out battle-scarred version. It's a different kind of fetish. It's the same plotwise, superheroics are gone to be replaced by a basic sci-fi concept: an invasion story. But it's not that simple, there are twists and turns and a kind of focus on family dinamics.
Glory is a pretty straight forward conflited protagonist - her scars run more than just skin deep. The reasons for her absence entail most of the plot and her character motivation.
Riley is basically the reader's avatar (as she learns about the story, so do we), she shares a connection with Glory but other than that, we know very little about her and, unfortunately, she ends up being just an instrument of the plot.
This is an action-packed, two-fisted (most of the time two-clawed) comic, so you can't really argue that character development was its primary concern. In that regard, there is an affinity to manga that can also be seen in certain moments of storytelling decompression (an example, the scene before the final battle) and the "subtle" wink to gigantic reptilian monsters emerging from a rift in Tokyo (this is before Pacific Rim, people).
Something that bothers me is the recurrence of hyper-violence in the book. I can understand that its purpose is to make the reader understand the magnitude of the strenght used but it isn't so much disturbing as it is off-putting.
Another thing is the final chapter, that feels a bit disjointed with the rest of the narrative and its intent to unnecessarily humanize Glory and give her a "happy ending" was a bit uncomfortable.
Ross Campbell's art is beautiful. His bulky Glory and delicate Riley are almost like the extremities of  the continuum of his character design, some cool looking monsters and good storytelling made him the star of this book.
Again, some good coloring, its subtlety can only be understood when we reach the penultimate chapter of the book when the characters enter the battlefieldand the color pallete changes drastically and with it the importance of that moment.
If you like over-the-top, fast-paced, action-packed, ultra-violent (and other hyphenated adjectives) manga/comic/life, this is your book.

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