Spotlight: Glory #1
Salutations dearest Readers,
I just recently finished reading though a new single issue so I thought I’d do a little show and tell. The issue I bring to you today is Glory by Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell, an interesting new take on an old comic character by good ol’ Rob Liefeld. If I haven’t lost you at the mention of the most controversial name in comics, you’re in for a treat. Glory (not featuring a single pouch or buckle) is a currently being picked up by two of the most promising people I can think of and taken through a complete rejuvenation. This issue of Glory is set as a re-imagining of the characters origin story, but don’t take that the wrong way; This issue packs some of the most striking events I’ve seen recently. Seeing as Glory dates back to 1993, there is a fair amount of history that some may be familiar with. As far as I know a lot of the events from her past seem generally unchanged with sole exception being that she is no longer part demon but part alien. That being said, this issue blew all my expectations away! As a superhero book it approaches the source material with a significant level of reverence but with enough fresh and interesting flourishes to really take it sky high. Note: There’s even a special little appeal to Ross Campbell towards the end of this article. Here we go!
Glory, born Glorianna Demeter, is a half amazon, half alien from a far flung, war stricken planet significantly distanced from this galaxy. She is born into the chaos wrought by her ancestors and is destined to bring peace to the quarrelling factions whether that be through sheer birthright or by brutal force. She is born with boundless powers ranging from super strength to flight and is revered by the populous of her planet as something near to a god. Glory has lived through many full centuries on her home planet and once she reaches adulthood she decides to set her sights and prospects on the, by comparison, quaint little planet of Earth. Immediately upon arrival, she is treated to all manner of earthly squabbles, which she promptly cleans up. Glory then parades her way around Earth fighting wars, righting wrongs and defending those in need, until the day she disappears. Enter aspiring journalist, Riley, a girl who has been suffering from recurring dreams featuring Glory. Riley has a journalism thesis to write and her subject is the disappearance of one of Earth’s greatest heroes. On her quest for a story Riley travels around looking for leads until she is brought to the settlement Mont Saint Michel, a town of around forty people. During her short time there, Riley meets a waitress past readers of Glory might remember, Gloria West. That’s where I’ll leave this preview, as things really begin to pick up from there.
Glory, in a word, is glorious, and that’s not because I like the way that sounds. Every aspect of this comic revels in the confidence it has in its execution. Ross Campbell and Joe Keatinge are the perfect creative team for a comic latent with so much potential. Keatinge’s biggest talent in regards to his writing is his amazing use of word economy, using every part of the proverbial buffalo, leaving little to the imagination. Although that may sound unappetizing, it is a remarkable skill, Keatinge engulfs you in the experience of his story, making you face it on his terms alone. He lays out a strong base framework for a story that could easily become a classic, setting the stage for issues to come. Characters speak realistically and without any useless banter, there is plenty of beneficial exposition that gives deep insight into the past machinations of the characters. Given the restrictions of using someone else’s source material, Keatinge takes an inch and makes it a mile, reworking every story beat and adding his own valuable tidbits of information wherever needed.
Next up is Ross Campbell’s art, I personally swore to him I’d give him a good review and here it is. Ross Campbell has to be my favorite artist for this book, everything about his art style and direction feel just right. Ross’s art is so easy to tell from other artists, his line-work and attention to detail are one of a kind and which makes his foregrounds really stand out. The intricacy of all of Ross’s line density is astounding, each panel and scene drips with the kind of quality one could expect from a trade that took ages to be published. One of the most notable features of the art is the finality with which each character is drawn as each character always carries the same brevity and weight, there is no inconsistency from page to page. Glory is portrayed with the same flowing frock of white hair, stylistic armour and warrior’s gait in each scene, Ross Campbell is a machine of pure efficiency and dependable art assembly. Through and through this was one of the most complete comic experiences I’ve had in quite a while. Every page of Glory has this glossy, high production value feeling to it, making the book feel as if it’s worth much more then it costs. I found myself gingerly sweeping the pages over and basking in the eminence of the exceptional value of the art. It’s this kind of finish that will bring some readers back time and time again, the overall genuine talent of this creative team is heavily palpable.