15th May2013

Comics Round Up – Devil May Cry, Tank Girl, Meadowhell

by Jack Kirby

What’s that? You don’t get enough of my writing about comics from Panel Discussion with Mark? You don’t? Thank goodness, you’re in luck. I’ve been sent a handful of books and I’m going to tell you what I thought about them using my written communication skills! Buckle up.

Comics-1

Solid State Tank Girl #1, Alan C. Martin, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Titan Comics

Tank Girl, eh? I’ve never read anything with her name on it, but I’ve been aware and amused by her existence for some time. I’m a fan of creator Jamie Hewlett’s art but he isn’t actually attached to this book. Instead, we’ve got some satisfyingly scatty artwork from Warwick Johnson-Cadwell which looks totally boss and is a refreshing change from the super-stylish look of many books.

Alan C Martin’s story is a pastiche of Fantastic Voyage in which Tank Girl and her pals have to save anthropomorphic kangaroo companion Booga from certain death by getting into a submarine, getting shrunk and entering his body to sort out whatever the problem is. It’s daft and silly, but it’s also very funny, irreverent and rude. Which is a good thing. There’s a fairly throw away back up story too, which doesn’t really demonstrate much, but gives a decent flavour of Tank Girl’s schtick.

Meadowhell: The True Horror of Shopping (Pts. 1 and 2), Craig Daley, CD Comics

Here’s something fairly novel: a comic murder-mystery for you to try and solve yourself. Set in 1990 shortly before the opening of the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield. A grisly and possibly occult triple homicide has taken place in the building and it’s up to DCI Bramley and his lovely secretary Belle to wrap the case up before word gets out.

The artwork is a little bit clipart-looking, but I became accustomed to it fairly quickly. It’s not especially pretty to look at but Daley manages to conjure a fair amount of expression and character using his utilitarian style. The plot is surprisingly engaging – it may be a bit of a stretch, but it kind of evoked David Peace’s Red Riding books (Yorkshire setting, gothic murders, police investigations, etc) which I consider to be a very good thing. The clues you’re meant to pick up are fairly obviously telegraphed and whilst the resolution is a little too out there to guess correctly, anyone with a basic knowledge of classical mythology should be able to guess where it’s going.

In short, it was a lot of fun, pretty engaging and struck a good balance between satire, horror and intrigue.

Devil May Cry: The Chronicles of Vergil #1, Izu, Patrick Pion, Titan Comics

I saved the book I enjoyed the least for last. I’ve not played any Devil May Cry games so this spin off comic made very little sense to me. I’m not totally convinced that it would make a lot of sense to people who have (I am asking one for his opinion). It’s about this guy Vergil who has a sword and fights demons and he meets this woman who is psychic somehow and can see ways between dimensions but only if her spirit is loose from her body and this somehow helps Vergil to kill more demons but he is the son of a demon or somesuch, but not a bad one and his brother needs help but he doesn’t know what he looks like and so on and so forth.

To be fair, this comic has been translated, presumably from Japanese, so it’s not inconceivable that something was lost there. That said, video game tie-in stuff has an inconsistent record of being interpreted well in other media at very best. The artwork is okay but has less character than the other books reviewed here. Still, I’m sure fans will like it. Well, they might.

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