Written by Noel Clarke | Art by Joshua Cassara | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Paperback, 32pp
Conflict. If there is one thing a writer must both introduce and maintain to make for good drama, it’s conflict. A lot of other stuff, like character building, romance, action etc are also welcome, but without conflict you have no hook, nothing to set the drama the reader wants. Where Noel Clarke has excelled up to and including this issue is in introducing and maintaining that conflict, be it conflict with outside threats or conflict within the pseudo family/ team. Noel Clarke has so far delivered well above expectations with this book, and I’ve been enjoying the ride.
So far we have seen a mysterious benefactor, Edward, saving super powered individuals from some secret military group. So far these individuals, Terrain, Hotshot, and Virus have trusted him but that trust has reached its limit. By creating this tension in the team, Clarke can then organically give the reader the back story without it feeling forced unnaturally into the story, as Edward has to tell all. We learn the secret military hunters are a group called Illusion, who infected a plane full of people 30 years ago, who then went on to have children with abilities. The superpowered people we have met so far are some of those children. By dressing up usually non-dramatic exposition in the form of a group argument Clarke shows fantastic writing technique.
The Troop #3 then moves on to its signature format, as new superpowered individuals are introduced, with the by now expected tragic backgrounds all of the damaged ‘supers’ seem to have. This may be a slight niggle with Clarke’s technique, in that it could be seen as quite formulaic. He also doesn’t exactly shy away from X-Men comparisons with the back story and abilities of Nick Morris, a sort of Professor X, but far more tragic. Of course. Although pacing has been a strong point of the book so far, this issue was the first time I actually found myself thinking it needed to slow a little, it needed to take stock a little more of what we have and where we have reached. The action sequences, of which there were plenty, were very well done but could have been tightened up and a bit more time devoted to the newer characters and their stories.
Cassara continues to not only excel at maintaining top notch art, but also at setting the tone and look of this world. It’s dark, gritty, moody, unwelcoming and peopled by some very nasty individuals. Cassara manages to draw you in with both large panels that make you stop and stare, and smaller panels that make you read at pace in time with the beats of the story.
The sign of a good book is when you struggle to find anything bad to say about it, or do some very minor nitpicking. The Troop has genuinely been a great read through all 3 issues, solid writing and art, engaging characters and storylines, and although much has now been answered we know this world still has much more to show us, and that is why we will return for more.
Comics done as they should be.
The Troop #3 is out now from Titan Comics