Sunday, August 30, 2009

UXB - A Review

"Experimental anti-terrorist skin suits fuse to the muscle and bone of three teenage brothers raising them to the level of unwitting ubermenschen in a decimated post-war London. They could be the saviour of mankind; Instead their interest remains with typical 21st century distractions: video games, violence and porn."

- the pitch for UXB

This is the first time that I have been given a comic to review by its creator. Colin over at Lubbert Das was one of the first blogs I started reading regularly when I was thinking about starting a blog of my own. The ones I admired were blogs that posted about anything that seemed to interest the author at the time. Its a philosophy that I wholeheartedly follow. Recently he offered a free copy of his comic UXB to anyone wishing to review it on their blog. I asked, he sent and I feel a responsibility to give him and you my honest appraisal. Anyone who has ever read a comic wants to create one. That means being able to draw (or have a friend that does) and especially you must be able to write. Comics have a shorthand and language all their own. Much story content is only hinted at to build tension and create reader interest. Combined with the art, words can make or break a book. I have no idea how many issues Colin has written but he avoided the trap many first timers fall into by OVER WRITING and OVER EXPLAINING every little thing that is going on in the world that he has created. The issue I was given has eight preview pages of story and some sketch pages at the end. I was very impressed how much mystery and interest was generated in so few panels. Here is a creator with a vision of a world where those with the power (or 'A' power) use it without fear or responsibility. The three young men we are introduced to bicker like companions who are forced together not by choice but by their shared gift (or curse). Much is unsaid between them (and much IS said) and I found myself instantly wanting to know more about their interpersonal dynamic. Its hard to avoid noticing that they all have something foreign attached to their bodies, something that separates them from everyone else and give them enormous power to use for good or ill. I can only assume by the fact that they are so young and so wild and that they live in Buckingham Palace that they have used their 'gifts' to take what they want from the post war world they inhabit. In the sketch pages we are teased with images of one of the characters as a child with the same alien looking 'device' (or skin suit as per the pitch) fixed to the front of his torso. I suspect alot of painful history travels with the young men. The art is very nice with subtle tones that are not over colored and don't distract from the story. There is a steampunk feel and detail to it all. So how does one judge only a few pages of what I am sure is an epic story in the creator's mind. I choose to go with how successful he was in planting the seed of interest in the reader to seek out more from this world. In that he hit the bullseye. I found the story to be fresh and the preview left me wanting to know more. If I had picked up this at say a convention or free comic day I would look for issues on the shelves in the future. Days after I read it and re-read what I had, I was still thinking about it. You can't ask more than that from a preview issue. This is excellent graphic storytelling.

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