Current Reviews


Clandestine #3

Posted: Tuesday, April 1, 2008
By: Steven M. Bari

Alan Davis
Alan Davis, Mark Farmer (i), Paul Mounts (colors)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Clandestine #3 arrives in stores tomorrow, April 2.

Plot: As Dominic Destine falls through space and time, he lands into the laps of Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, Phoenix, Megan and Captain Britain. Meanwhile, Adam Destine has inexplicably disappeared, leaving his youngest children Rory and Pandora out on their own with no cell phone or cash. But will the greatest danger befall son Walter and his uncontrollable rage? Find out this next episode of Clandestine!

Commentary: As a huge fan of Alan Davis's art, I found that Clandestine #3 lived up to my expectations of impressive layout, incredibly human characters, and great action. Davis's writing, however, is so unappealing it left me depressed and saddened.

My first Alan Davis comic was a distinct moment in my childhood. While bored to death with no TV or friends on summer vacation in Sicily, my dad picked up a collected Marvel Comics reprint which included Excalibur. Davis' art was so clear and lively that it stirred my imagination and kept me occupied for the next three months. That comic was imprinted onto my brain.

So I thought Clandestine would be no different. Clandestines art is possibly the most dynamic and energetic that Marvel is currently printing. Unlike the current trend of writer-heavy books that follow a panel-by-panel layout, Davis bursts the story off the page with floating diagonal panels that overlap, moving with the momentum of what's actually inside the panel. A character's fit of rage is expressed in a similar explosion of panels.

Yet Alan Davis's dialogue slows all this down. It's long-winded, monotonous and really not engaging for new readers. Even the meeting up with the old Excalibur team of Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde fails to generate the slightest interest. Instead, these characters prattle on about time-traveling and convoluted back-stories that are just more confusing than explanative.

Interestingly, I stated in a previous review that team books could really utilize roll call page just to help the reader recall whos who. Clandestine does have a roll call in the form of a very easy to follow family tree. Yet I still had a hard time trying to figure out who's who, and moreover, why I should even care.

Sadly, I don't care and will regrettably not follow this series. Admittedly, I arrive at this conclusion under the most biased of circumstances, for the permanent marker that is nostalgia has tainted me. Therefore, though I may dislike this book, those of you who enjoy large team books that have multiple plots threads, family characters, and outdated hairdos, then Clandestine #3 is for you.

Not for me.

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