Friday, February 17, 2012

Glory #23

written by Joe Keatinge, drawn by Ross Campbell

Glory #23 follows the acclaimed Prophet #21 in the relaunch of Rob Liefeld's Extreme imprint of Image Comics.  Like that book, the new Glory represents a completely new direction for the character, and bears little resemblance to the previous incarnation.  No previous knowledge of the character or series is necessary to enjoy this comic book.  The story, by Joe Keatinge, concerns a young woman named Riley who has been experiencing vivid dreams of the superhero Glory's many adventures.  In her quest to track the source of these dreams, Riley eventually makes her way to the island of Mont Saint Michel, where she encounters a woman named Gloria who has a similar connection to Glory, but seems to have a much clearer idea of what is going on.  The story of Riley's investigations is intercut with Glory's origin story (she is the daughter of two races of advanced beings who appear as Gods and Demons, respectively, to humans), and her many battles throughout the decades, beginning in World War II.  While the connection between Glory and the two women is unclear at this point, we will doubtless learn more as the story unfolds over the next several issues.

While Keatinge offers an intriguing premise, the chief appeal of this book is the artwork of Ross Campbell.  His uniquely desgined characters and hyper-detailed drawing style are a radical departure from previous artists who have worked with the character.  Campbell's most notable contribution to the series is his rendition of Glory herself, who appears as a bulky, muscular character, somewhat like a female body builder.  While this depiction makes perfect sense for a character with the strength and power of the godlike Glory, it is in marked and deliberate contrast to the ways women have traditionally been depicted in superhero comics.  The way in which Glory is drawn, as well as a key scene in the book between Glory and the male superhero Supreme, make it clear that Campbell and Keatinge have something to say about the depictions of female superheroes, and are attempting to offer something new with their run on Glory.

While I didn't like this book as much as Brandon Graham's and Simon Roy's Prophet, this book's fresh approach and excellent artwork make it worth checking out.  I'm not sure where Keatinge is going with the story, but if it turns out as strange and wonderful as Campbell's drawings, this could turn into an exceptional comic book series.


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