Eve: True Stories – Daniel Way

Eve True StoriesA graphic novel based on a video game is as dire prospect as a film based on one. But this isn’t really about the world of the game but something the players did within it. A legendary corporate takeover probably won’t mean much unless you play EVE or a game similar to it, in which case you wouldn’t really need to read about it.

For the outside reader this is basically a heist tale in space. There really isn’t any backstory or worldbuilding to show you more about EVE other than dialogue boxes explaining some of the jargon. You could easily replace the spaceships with boats, trucks or stagecoaches and it would read the same.

The art is ok with some good attention to the colouring to try and differentiate as the story jumps backwards and forwards in time in order to try and build suspense. It’s a little bit murky and with a lot of characters, many of whom only appear briefly, which doesn’t help to clarify things.

It’s a fleeting and entertaining read if you know the real-world incident behind it but it won’t stay in your mind for very long.

Thumbs Up, but only just.

Crossed: Badlands Volume Nine – Daniel Way & Simon Spurrier

Crossed 9First we have seven issues by Daniel Way who is better known for Deadpool and Wolverine. This doesn’t hit the spot and appears to be a rush to get ideas onto the page. Maybe as monthly parts you have time to mull over these ideas but here we just have a jumble of faces appearing and disappearing. We know that normal people go crazy in this setting and the Wish You Were Here title does a better job of examining characters in depth.

The art and colouring do a fine job. There are a few blank backgrounds and the odd style choice though.

Then we have the 2013 Crossed Special by Simon Spurrier. This does a much better job in a lot less pages. Spurrier is clearly the heir to the Ennis kingdom and this is another tale of what people would do in an extraordinary situation.

The art is great and some cool choices are made. He uses the lettering to superb effect. He goes for the abstract when using narration. This definitely makes the most of the visual medium.

After many years of Crossed it’s all getting a bit rapey. I don’t remember it having such a misogynistic undertone in the beginning. Sexual violence and torture porn are shortcuts for lazy writing and any Crossed scribe should know we are immune to it by now.

For the Spurrier story this deserves a Thumbs Up!

Squadron Supreme: Hyperion Vs Nighthawk – Daniel Way

It used to be the case that when writers wanted to get political they would use things such as satire or allegory. Now it seems like the average reader’s attention span or intelligence isn’t up to understanding such clever tricks. What we have instead is graphic depictions of genocide but with some superheroes flying round to get our attention. Things have really come to this?

The title is quite misleading. What should be an intellectual showdown between two vastly differing ideologies is instead a half crazed writer punching me in the face screaming “Darfur!” Once again Straczynski has sub-contracted his masterful franchise to someone who has a differing vision for his beloved characters.

I should like this book. There are some clever uses of the timeline making the reader work to follow the story. There are two opposing internal monologues making the reader re-think what they have learned using new information. There is an absolutely worthy news story that needs to be published and in fact shouted from the rooftops. The writer even donates his fee to Darfur relief charities and gives you a bunch of websites to look at to learn more about what is going on there. This is truly a noble cause.

But? It really feels like I have been hoodwinked. This isn’t what I signed up for and if I have to be tricked into something then I’m not going to appreciate it as much as I should. I understand that the original Squadron Supreme in the 1980’s had a theme of superheroes in world politics. If you look at the work Maus, that doesn’t borrow other peoples’ round characters and put them in square holes. It starts from scratch and uses unique characters to tell an important and harrowing story. It works. But maybe the average reader isn’t going to buy two tales of genocide in one lifetime and only by treading on toes could this story be forced to the public attention.

The writer and the cause definitely deserve a Thumbs Up, I just wish there was a better way of getting me to give it to them.


Tomorrow: Union Jack – Ben Raab & John Cassaday PLUS Squadron Supreme: The Pre-War Years [revisited]

Supreme Power: Nighthawk – Daniel Way

Here we have the next solo series from J. Michael Straczynski’s superb Supreme Power series. Like Full Spectrum this was written by another writer; another writer who makes one fatal mistake. The book is titled Nighthawk but he isn’t the star. Instead Way chooses to create his own villain for the piece. As the Supreme Power heroes bear more than a passing resemblance to other DC celebrities then a villain dressed in clown makeup was only a matter of time.

It is quite an entertaining read competently executed but it doesn’t live up to the Supreme Power name. Any weighty issues are skipped over in favour of people puking blood. The Marvel Max imprint can be a double edged sword promoting discussion of complex moral questions or gratuitous sex and violence. It’s the latter here. Steve Dillon does an excellent job of upholding the high standards of art set by his predecessors but there is nothing new or outstanding. It is a Thumbs Up yet it feels like there should be a but…


Tomorrow: Squadron Supreme: Hyperion Vs Nighthawk – Daniel Way