Union Jack – Ben Raab & John Cassaday

The Superhero is really an American phenomenon. We Brits really don’t like to make a fuss. The idea of putting on a garish costume and being different from those around us just doesn’t sit well. We do however do heroes or heroics. James Bond, Dan Dare, Sherlock Holmes; or Earnest Shackleton, Winston Churchill, Dr Livingstone, et al. are all national treasures that embody our crude idea of heroism. Most superheroes are all about the super and not a lot of heroic. If you have super powers then facing danger and peril is your bread and butter. If you face the same perils as a mere mortal then surely that is heroic.

Union Jack is therefore an attempt to imagine what a British superhero would be like. He has a knife, a revolver and a mask but no cape, spandex or other ostentation. With no special powers he puts on his Union Flag emblazoned vest and does battle with vampire hordes. He has a working class background, a troubled love life and a lot of good old British pluck.

Like Captain America our hero is not the first man to carry that title and there is a back story, going back to the first world war, of others who have held that position. This story starts afresh with the third incarnation doing battle alone.

It’s not bad. A nice little romp without any sharp twists or turns of plot that harks back to the days of Boys Own Adventure serials. A hero we can be truly proud of. The main author is American but artist and co-writer is British. It is nice to see something that actually feels home-grown and not a quant, laughable stereotype. There are some niggles in the language however that bring you back to earth. It’s not the Museum of Natural History it’s the Natural History Museum. Google could have told you that and it smacks of lazy writing/ editing.

The art is very nice and the panel construction fresh and exciting. With the artist sharing the writer’s chair everything meshes and flows smoothly and the story unfolds well. It’s not going to set the world on fire but it is definitely a step in the right direction. Thumbs Up old bean!


Tomorrow: Union Jack: London Falling – Christos N. Gage

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