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Vimanarama #2

Posted: Monday, March 28, 2005
By: Kelvin Green



"Act Two"

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Philip Bond

Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo

We more or less get confirmation that the normal human family at the heart of this superhero epic are Pakistani, and yet DC's solicitations people still seem to think that they're Indian. Strange...

DC's cultural myopia aside, this is another wonderful comic from Messrs. Morrison and Bond. It's big, bright and colourful, and it's full of the brilliant ideas that only Morrison and Kirby seem to be able to pull off (a mosque-on-legs!). The demons destroy London and head off to ransack America, while the ancient Islamic heroes suffer a setback in their attempts to stop the demonic incursion when their leader is felled by... a leaf blowing in the wind. Meanwhile, our hero Ali struggles to keep his family together and safe while at the same time trying to prove himself to his betrothed as she's being wooed by a superhero.

There's so much to enjoy here: the demons proving immune to Tony Blair's blithering rhetoric as they ravage the Government, Bradfordian Muslims using alien weaponry to avenge themselves against BNP scum, a wonderful twist on a laser-targetted orbital weapon, Ben Rama's Superman-esque cheerful cluelessness and so on. I love the way Ali's family react to it all, with that peculiar British pragmatism that Douglas Adams did so well in his Hitchhiker's Guide books, and I enjoyed the subtler aspects amongst the explosions and chaos, such as the way the world turns to autumn as the demons increase their power.

Much of the success of the book is down to Philip Bond, who provides visuals that are spectacular when they need to be, humourous at other times, and that are above all, expressive and full of personality. Brian Miller's colours are similarly well done with a colourful but subtle palette giving way to neon brightness when the weird Bond-tech comes into play.

This is exactly the kind of thing that got me into comics in the first place. It's bright, it's imaginative, it's fun, and it's intelligent. At three issues, I'm sure it's going to be far too short, too.



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