Friday, February 17, 2012

Review: 'Glory' #23 - Image Revisits Glory Days

Glory #23, script by Joe Keatinge and
art by Ross Campbell.

After last month's surprise success of Prophet #21, this month Image Comics continues their relaunch of Extreme Studios characters with the platinum-haired, uber-heroine Gloriana in Glory #23 (script by Joe Keatinge and art by Ross Campbell). My only familiarity of the character Glory is from Alan Moore's run of Supreme, where Glory played a small side-note as a Wonder Woman ripoff. One quick glance at the cover of Glory #23 and any Wonder Woman fanboy will notice a major distinction between the two Amazons; thanks to Campbell's art, Glory's new physique is certainly gaining a lot of buzz from the comic industry. An industry well known for alienating and aggravating many female readers with poor physical and mental depictions of the female gender (think of descriptors like "ditzy" and "busty" and you can sum up the past fifity-plus years of female comic characters). With Glory #23 on store shelves today, the beginning of a new era in comic books begins now--or so I hope. 

Compare the detail from this page to the next;
the art is either striking or bland.
My largest concern with this comic is the emphasis readers will make on Glory based on her physical appeal rather than the elements of storytelling. Sadly I am to say, only the very beginning of this comic managed to impress me with it's storytelling device.  In the spans of three pages, we understand Glory's origins. A difficult task to accomplish yet incredibly effective and economic for a first issue. However, immediately following Glory's introduction, I feel the story lost its strength.At the beginning we are introduced immediately into Glory's world of violence, war, and dispute yet jerked suddenly without warning into vague happenings. The story moves too quickly at times before the reader understands just what, when, and where we're looking at precisely. Yes, I understand this is a first issue to a new arc, but considering this is a first issue, certain factors should be instated, such as creating well rounded characters to help readers determine if this comic is right for them. At this point, being the first issue it is too early to tell. It is certainly a worthy read, but it might feel better appreciated when read in a collected form.

With all said about the story being slightly weak, Ross Campbell's new character style and art is certainly a treat and worthy enough of picking up a copy and rifling through to see just what the man can do. There are only two points I want to address on Campbell's art. One- Campbell is damn fine at drawing fascinating and detail intricate story scenes. Two- although Campbell's work is great, he does not put enough detail into the entirety of the comic as a whole. What I mean here is that some pages of this comic will astound you and make you ponder just how such creativity exists, yet other pages appear half-assed, overly simple, and make you question the quality of the art. As a reader, you can tell which pages and panels were rushed and which pages were hurriedly slapped together without a consideration of making the visuals appear better. My hope (or excuse) is much like the problems pertaining to the story; this is only a first issue. The writer and artist have plenty of time to settle in a well balanced routine before becoming overly critical of their work. However, this is only optimism speaking. 

The way I see it right now, the new Glory will be a good comic as soon as they fix these minor problems on both sides of the creative team. As a suggestion for prospective readers, I recommend reading the first issue in a comic store before committing to the purchase. With my first taste of Glory I am perfectly okay not continuing the story in single issue. I might wait around for the trade just to see if the story and art becomes more solid and refined. Until then, at least the Glory #23 paves way for a new breed of female heroines.

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