By Todd Allen
In many ways, Rob Leifeld’s old Extreme line was the epitome of the Direct Market in the mid-90s. Imagine my surprise when I’m reading the relaunch of one of those books at realize it’s very much a mid-80s comic.
As with the Prophet re-launch, the Glory re-launch is something a bit different. This time out writer Joe Keatinge and artist Ross Campbell channel Miracleman and Airboy for their new series, debuting with Glory #23. Miracleman and Airboy? Yes, I said it.
If you go back to the mid-80s, the post-modern era really started a little bit before Watchmen. Marvelman really started that movement back in 1982 over in Warrior magazine. Eclipse brought the re-christened Miracleman over to the US in ’85, to reprint and then continue the story. Airboy added to the mix in ’86, along with Miller’s Dark Knight and Moore’s Watchmen (Dark Knight and Watchmen are the two comics that really popularized the pos-tmodern movement).
To varying degrees, Marvel/Miracleman, Dark Knight, Airboy and Watchmen are spin out of trying to find out what happened to missing/retired heroes as a threat from the past emerges. (And yes, that’s EXACTLY what happened in the first arc of Airboy – Chuck Dixon was doing the action take on post-modernism before it was the fad.)
Glory #23 opens with a young woman who has dreams of the Glory heroine. Glory has disappeared, and she’s made it her mission to find her. We see flashbacks to Glory’s birth, the peace-brokered child of the leaders of war races, one god-like and the other demon-like. We see flashbacks to Glory (or perhaps “Gory” would be more apt – she could teach the Savage Hawkman something about being Savage). We also see sinister things lurking in the shadows as the young lady quests.
Glory is an analogue to Wonder Woman, much the same way the better known Supreme is an analogue to Superman. The flashbacks reminded me of Alan Moore’s run on Supreme, where he was having fun playing with the tropes of Superman from specific time periods. This is a more violent take on Wonder Woman, more savage and aloof a warrior than DC’s pushed the character towards, but still in the basic mold. This is still a little darker than the current Azzarello/Chiang edition of Wonder Woman.
All in all, this is a set-up issue. Where’s Glory gone to? Has something bad happened to her? Sinister forces are lurking. The transitions from past to present are smooth and the mood of impending doom is set up properly. This is _so_ an 80s post-modern comic. The ironic thing is, it’s post-modern on a heroine that really doesn’t have all that deep a publishing history and wasn’t published in the time period the flashbacks occur in.
The unusual thing about the Campbell art is that he’s not drawing Glory as a swimsuit model. She’s a bruiser built more like a linebacker. While I’m not blinking my eyes, muttering “where did this come from,” like I was with the Prophet relaunch, Glory is solid book that seems to know what it is. If the tropes I described are your cup o’ tea, it’s well worth your time. The Extreme relaunch is two-for-two and I’m waiting to see what Erik Larsen is doing with those old Alan Moore scripts. And yes, it cracks me up how comfortably this comic would have sit in the Eclipse section in 1986, right between Airboy and Miracleman.
Glory #23 comes out on February 15th.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.