Comic Review: GLORY #25 & Tell No OneBy Andrew Leslie
Posted on April 12, 2012
Isn’t it kind of a mind-job when the interpretation of an original work surpasses its source material? Take, for example Ne le dis à personne, the 2006 French adaptation of Harlan Corben’s American crime novel Tell No One. It is a gorgeous film, both emotionally and artistically garnering critical acclaim along with Michael Caine’s personal seal of approval listing it as one of his Top Ten favorite films of all time. While Corben’s novel was great, François Cluzet’s acting, Guillaume Canet’s direction and Matthieu Chedid’s scoring made Ne le dis à personne transcendent of the novel’s original scope. Another example would be Image Comics’ GLORY. Originally created by Rob Liefeld in 1993, GLORY began life in the superhero genre, paralleling DC Comics’ Wonder Woman with a twenty-two issue run. Fifteen years later, GLORY was reborn with a new team at the helm and, much like No le dis a personne, GLORY transcends its original genre to become a comic with a greater propensity for connecting emotionally and artistically with its readers.
With rare exception the pure superhero genre is brown-bread disco so reading Glory, issue twenty-five, may be a departure for some as it revolves around a super-heroine, but draws water from a cinematically sci-fi well. Written by Joe “Yes, yes I do smell what the Rock is cooking” Keating and art by Ross “Riddick is my co-pilot” Campbell, Glory follows Riley, a young girl somehow psychically connected to Glory finally finding her life-long obsession, but in this issue RILEY DREAMS 500 years into the future to see why their lives are so intimately intertwined. An aged Riley lands on a distant planet where she barters with local creatures for a hover bike. Bartering, in this case, includes deft use of a futuristic sickle. Hover-biking into the vast barren landscape, she finally tracks down a genetically altered Glory, virtually devoid of human characteristics. Retro-narrating a flash glance at the past five hundred years, Riley foreshadows what’s to come if Glory goes through with her plan to wage war on her father. After an “awkward” encounter between the two, Riley wakes up in the current timeline, realizing the why behind their connection.
Keatinge (writer/creator of Hell Yeah) knows how to suck the fun out of a superhero comic doesn’t he? That’s a joke, of course as Glory is a heady story, but without dense writing. Keatinge utilizes an economy of dialogue and narration that gives the reader enough to draw them in, but still leaves enough unknowns to stimulate their own imagination. Though the text may be sparse, it’s impactful – why use ten words when three well-chosen words will communicate your intentions even better? Also this issue brings about a monster-sized shift in interpersonal relationship between the two main characters that completely alters what you thought you knew about the comic and its tone. Keatinge definitely takes the superhero road less traveled, but this road takes you somewhere very, very cool – so have faith.
Then you’ve got Ross Campbell on art. It really says a lot about Rob Liefeld’s faith in Campbell’s ability that he signed off on this comic. Campbell takes Glory in a much more bizarre direction than originally intended. She is about as far as you can get from Wonder Woman while still being a believable warrior and in this issue, wow, Campbell takes her even further into the realm of unhindered imaginative insanity. That’s not to say Campbell’s art isn’t gorgeous, because it is, but he really jumps between timelines in extremes. It’s shocking, disorienting and works well with the heady story Keatinge gives us. His use of title cards book-ending the comic gives the book an “foreign/indie/arthouse flick” vibe, but not in a pretentiously off-putting way.
Glory #25 shouldn’t be a hard sell at all, it’s a great comic, but very different than what superhero aficionados are accustomed to. It’s the kind of comic that people have to take a chance on, because it’s a little “outsider art” like a small foreign film based off an American crime novel, but taking chances should be what reading new comics is all about. If you’re only in it for the safe and familiar, then there’s a nearly infinite backlog of comics and movies out there for you. If you’re in it for something that might actually reach out and knock you about the head and shoulders, give Glory a try.