Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Revolutionary War (2014)

Authors: Andy Lanning / Alan Cowsill / Kieron Gillen / Rob Williams / Glenn Dakin / Brent Eric Anderson / Tom Palmer / Richard Elson  ||  Illustrators: Richard Elson / Dietrich O. Smith / Will Sliney / Nick Roche / Brent Eric Anderson / Tom Palmer / Ronan Cliquet / Gary Erskine / Richard Elson  ||  Page Count: 192

"I'm so tired. I've made mistakes. I wish they mattered."

A revival for a number of original Marvel UK characters after a staggering twenty year absence from the shelves! They first appeared in a bi-weekly anthology called Overkill that dared to go up against 2000 AD. It was a valiant attempt, but they were forced to call it a day after just 52 issues. (I have the original series from way back then. Someday I'll maybe venture into the eldritch wardrobe, unearth them from their resting place of two decades and do a retrospective.)

Seeing them return for an eight-issue miniseries gave me warm fuzzies, but there's a sour downside, a surreptitious reason for their timely return. It isn't just a loving way to mark an anniversary, it was a toe-dip in the water to see if it would be possible to introduce them into the larger Marvel Universe; i.e. The American market. They brought the Overkill heroes back hoping to throw them into a pool of withered storytelling that's overflowing with spandex and fan-wank. That crushing realisation comes in the first few pages and it puts a dampener on the revisit. Damn you, Marvel, for doing what you have every right to do.

The crux of the story: the Mys-Tech Organisation that years before was a thorn in the side of every one of the characters is attempting an aggressive comeback. For Dark Angel that's a deeply upsetting prospect. The debt she inherited as a result of the Faustian deal between Mys-Tech and Mephisto was one written in perpetuity. If the Corporation return they'll upset the dubious balance that she struggles to maintain and the world could become a playground for techno-mage ambition. (That would be worse that the current government?)

The first and last chapters provide a catch-up and resolution to the overall series, respectively. The six bookended chapters wisely narrow their focus primarily to one hero/duo/team. Dark Angel was one of the strongest pillars of the original comic, so it's right that she should feature prominently, but juggling the small in the large is a difficult task for any writer, meaning some of the other interesting characters get criminally overlooked. One or two are absent completely.

If you're a fan of the Overkill comic, be prepared for your reintroduction to be as messy and hurried as many of the other recent Marvel 'events'. If you're new to the whole thing, then it's possible you'll be underwhelmed and slightly confused.

The book contains all eight parts of the Revolutionary War miniseries: RW: Alpha; RW: Dark Angel; RW: Knights of Pendragon; RW: Death's Head II; RW: Supersoldiers; RW: Motormouth; RW: Warheads; and RW: Omega. That's also the order they're designed to be read if you have them as single issue one-shots.

2½ metres below the Museum of Pagan Antiquities out of 5

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