Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle – Garth Ennis

Star Wars was a fine film that didn’t need any sequels. It wrapped everything up in a neat package with a very satisfying ending. That is what Wormwood did too. It is the kind of story that needs to stand as a single thought-provoking work that stays with you and keeps you thinking long after you have read it.

The strange thing about this third volume is that it retells the same story as volume one but with much less sex, violence and originality. This is like the parent friendly directors cut with all the swearing bleeped out. Pope Jacko pops up to wreak havoc, Danny’s relationship is placed in jeopardy and the glaring holes in the fabric of organised religion are pointed out to the reader. We have had all this before.

Things are slightly different and there are some interesting advances in our characters’ lives but the same message that the first story trumpeted is still the same. To quote that fantastic 80’s film Bill and Ted, “Be excellent to each other.” That’s all that needs to be said and talking three volumes to do it isn’t necessary.

The art is pretty spectacular. A lot of time and effort has been put into each panel and the rich colours are a joy to look at. Great use of lighting and shadows make this a very cinematic work to view. It is a shame that the dialogue does all of the talking and this is such a wordy book. This feels more like a pub conversation or maybe a party political broadcast, as no matter how great the art, it doesn’t change or enhance the message. Because there is so much colour and shadowing the faces can sometimes look soft and occasionally give that rotoscoped look as featured in the film Through a Scanner Darkly.

Whilst it is a pleasure to read anything by Garth Ennis you have to wonder why he is staying in his comfort zone and reworking existing titles as opposed to innovating and creating new storylines. A Thumbs Up, but not for much longer.

51/314.

Tomorrow: Y: The Last Man – Volume 1 – Unmanned – Brain K. Vaughn

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