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Cla$$war #3

Posted: Saturday, September 7, 2002
By: Craig Lemon



Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Trevor Hairsine

Publisher: Com.X

Plot:
After a short flashback to when both Isaac and The American experienced an epiphany that what they had been doing was wrong and needed to be challenged and changed, we see that the US President has a plan for recapturing his popularity; to do with an invasion of revolutionary Glenada (i.e. Grenada). American and Isaac are there also, they're trying to gather enough evidence to incriminate the US government in the backup of a corrupt dictatorship, not to mention take the opportunity to burn up some nasty drug-fields. A momentary lapse allows a CIA agent providing evidence to escape and report back to base, and he just happens to know where The American is hiding out...

Comments:
Rob Williams is really beginning to get into this scripting lark, hitting his stride with spot-on dialogue and humourous asides amid the serious plot - take the page where Isaac and The American meet up with CIA Agent Favre for the first time: "I'm black and I'm proud" - superb! Of course, this makes the contrast with the opening shot on the following page of an executed woman hanging in the jungle all the more pronounced; but this is typical of this series, combining levity with horror effectively, and drawing the reader on via the developing underlying plot.

It's Trevor Hairsine's last issue before picking up the Captain America reins at Marvel; I find it amusingly ironic that he's moving from one symbol of blind American patriotism to another - the difference being the first one has woken up to reality, whilst the latter is still (relatively speaking) asleep. The first six pages actually read like a tryout for Cap A: rigid panel structure with two, four or six panels a page, a fist-fight and a shooting; but the issue soon settles down into a more modern style. It actually works as another example of excellent writing - the flashbacks are designed to work a la old-comics, i.e. using methods set in the past; whilst the modern day action occurs with modern layouts. A subtle, yet effective way of dividing the action between flashback and present.

I desperately wanted to talk about this comic without discussing the scheduling and shipping issues around it, but, to some extent, said issues are important to enjoyment of the comic itself. At least I held off for a couple of paragraphs! Feel free to skip the rest of this rant, it's just I feel that sales on this title are being hurt by the erratic shipping. The whys and wherefores are irrelevant to the retailers and their customers, so shouldn't concern us here, but when an issue just turns up out of the blue, and in relatively limited quantities, the chances of it hanging around on a shelf long enough for people to even notice it has been released are very low...which obviously affects future sales too.

The old argument that once the story is collected as a trade it doesn't matter doesn't really hold water when discussing individual issues and the future of the series - it was so long since issue two, that I really needed to dig that out and reread it first...which was a pleasant experience, but for someone who has issue two but leaps straight into three without digging that out first, well, they may be put off. It doesn't help that there is no "Story So Far" recap box, so new readers are pretty much thrown into the deep end without much help. For these reasons I've docked a BULLET, so no rating this time around, but you should still look upon this review as being a whole-hearted recommendation...if you can find it, snap it up, and try and get those back issues too.

Final Word:
I really don't want to have to wait until January to pick up the continuation of this story, so I'm going to have a contact at Com.X hack into his computer there and email it to me. Mail me if you want a copy.



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