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Noble Causes v4: Blood & Water

Posted: Wednesday, April 5, 2006
By: Craig Johnson

Collects issues one through six of the Image monthly series

Writer: Jay Faerber
Artist: Fran Bueno

Publisher: Image

How many superhero series are out there? How many try to weave soap opera elements in? How many seem to be based on TV shows with an A-story running across a spread of episodes, each episode having its own B-story to give fulfillment in individual installments, yet greater satisfaction for those who view a bunch at a time? And which series does all of these better than any other? Welcome to Noble Causes.

There are three problems with this book, so let’s get them out of the way first. Firstly, there’s no recap of the story so far – firmly setting its stall out for ongoing readers rather than trying to grow the audience. Even the character summaries are at the back of the book, rather than up-front. Secondly, it’s a case of another volume, another new artist, and it’s starting to annoy. Bueno’s work grows on one as he gets more time with the characters, but the book just cries out for stability on the art front, especially as it’s pandering to that ongoing audience mentioned earlier. Thirdly – and I fully accept this is purely a minor personal gripe – there are no page numbers nor covers reprinted in this book. I like reprinted covers and page numbers. It’s just me, no doubt, but this niggles.

Onto the good stuff. The Noble family are not having life easy – one of their number is heavily pregnant and consorted in the past with this book’s Satan-equivalent and his son, who’s actually learning to be a good guy. He has his weaknesses of course, and plays them out by paying prostitutes to dress up as said pregnant girl and – presumed – doing the nasty with them. The book opens with one such prostitute dead, with Son of Satan’s sword right through him…putting his friendship with #1 Noble Son, Race Noble, under stress…Race’s relationship with his unpowered wife, Liz, under stress. Relationship stress seems to be the name of the game this time around: another Noble son and a half-son are stranded on an alien world with ex-wife and current girlfriend the wrong way round…Mama Noble is noticing that Papa Noble is acting rather strangely…and Son of Satan has a close relative he never expected.

You might think there’s too much going on to keep track of (curse that pesky non-showing “Story So Far” page), but rest assured you will pick it up quickly, it is worth getting involved in the lives of these characters, and Jay Faerber knows exactly what he’s doing – the best writing of his career. If you’ve been following this series, you’ll have picked this up already. If you haven’t, then do yourself a favour and track down volume one – or pick this puppy up, prepare to work a little…but it’s worth it.



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