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Cla$$war, Book One

Posted: Sunday, December 7, 2003
By: Craig Lemon



Collecting issues one through three of the Com.X series

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Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Trevor Hairsine

Publisher: Com.X


At last. You can finally track down all three published issues of CLA$$WAR in one really neat, bound, trade paperback volume - any retailer can order it through Diamond (so don't take no crap of anyone who says otherwise). The book's full title is:

CLA$$WAR #1 TO #3 COLLECTED EDITION

and it's been printed, shipped to their warehouses, and is available NOW.

The reason I feel it necessary to go through all that, is the reason Com.X are so (in)famous...you may read a review or preview of one of their books and then not find it anywhere. It's easy to become discouraged by this but...here it is.


So, what's so bloody good about this book, then?

Stand aside, The Authority...CLA$$WAR has Enola Gay (and if you don't get that reference, you need to hit google, man). Enola Gay comprises of four superhumans - The American (Superman), Burner (Human Torch), Icon (Wonder Woman) and Heavyweight (The Hulk). Created by the US government to deal with situations too dangerous or tricky for military forces, they turn the tide with regard to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, for example, within forty-eight hours. Waco effectively never happened. You can imagine an USA with the only superheroes on the planet working exclusively for them...CLA$$WAR brings this to life.

Except, the most powerful of them, American, is having second thoughts. Used to exercising his awesome power to force "the bad guys" (as defined by his commander-in-chief) to surrender, he had to actually kill someone in the line of duty...and this got him thinking. This was a bad move, he's not the brightest of sparks, but one run-in with a Black Ops guy with a grudge later, and he's set on course to irrevokably change the USA ... and the real powers behind the President.

It all starts with American taking the President ten thousand feet into the air, and allowing him to fall (ok, so he catches him before the ground, but still). Follow this up with an arse-kicking for Heavyweight (plus dumping him with a load of drugs), the supply of incriminating documents about financial wrongdoings of the current administration, and a final move into the drug-fields of Glenada (invasion of which country is being used to draw attention away from the American) and this guy is really making waves.

Williams provides a cracking script to go with his detailed plot, the right mixture of tension, intrigue plus humour (always a key component) - it's difficult to credit that this is one of his earliest scripts, maybe even his first full-length work. Unlike certain British creators who seem to have a stock set of phrases for their leads (who invariably end up British too), Williams sets his stall firmly in the american (sic) camp, and these guys feel good.

They look good, too. Hairsine was stolen from Com.X shortly after the first issue of CLA$$WAR was published, and whilst it's unfair to blame him for the chronic delays since, it's certainly a factor. This book shows his work off to its best effect, the amount of effort he put in is all there on the page...complemented by Len O'Grady's excellent colouring work. I've been fortunate enough to see the pencils for page three of the book, and Len came along afterwards and took superb art to extreme heights with his digital palette.

So, you may ask, if I like this book so much, why not the full five bullets? Glad you asked. I docked half-a-bullet for proof-reading and copy-editing problems. There is really no excuse for spelling mistakes to be present in this edition, any half-competent Senior Editor of a well-respected website would have been able to pick them out before it got to printing, and so, to me, that's not easy to forgive.

I had a ball reading this book. It's better than picking up the issues individually. Go and get it.

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