|UBER No. 1, April 2013|
Despite portraying of beginnings of a wholly inaccurate alternative Second World War, where German super-soldiers have somehow managed to defend a dilapidated Berlin from the Red Army during 1945. It is hard to agree with the publisher’s disclaimer that “the stories, characters and institutions mentioned in this magazine are entirely fictional.” For not only does Issue One of “Uber” start with a full-blown illustration of a heavily perspiring Adolf Hitler putting a pistol in his mouth. But just a couple of pages later, having shown the Fuhrer changing his suicidal mind, this “Avatar Press” periodical heavily involves some of the real War’s most pivotal players such as General Heinz Guderian, Albert Speer and the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Indeed whilst the majority of the comic book admittedly concentrates on the exploits of Doctor Bergen, ‘Katyusha’ Maria, General Sankt and Lupin Schultz, the Fuhrer’s insane ‘motivational’ presence is felt throughout the entire book’s proceedings, and culminates in the man himself ordering the mass murder of a million Soviet prisoners of war with the words “Give me opera.” So whilst such a deed is clearly historically fictitious the character ordering it is most definitely not.
This edition is also surprising for its lack of action, especially when one considers its storyline is immersed within the final bloody days of the Soviet Union’s Berlin strategic offensive operation; a time of when soldiers from both armies fought one another in savage hand-to-hand combat, face-to-face, with little quarter being given or asked. True, Schultz, the first Panzermensch killed in action, dies an impressively gory death thanks to Doctor Bergen and an anti-tank round and the Projekt U facility is fire-bombed. But until ‘Battleship’ Siegfried's double-page mass extermination of Russian prisoners at the book’s end, most of writer Kieron Gillen’s scenes are either profanity-laden arguments between bickering German generals, or concern Bergen’s flight from the Swiss/Austrian border and subsequent murder of her bodyguard.
Disappointingly the artwork by Caanan White simply does not live up to the promise shown by his powerfully dynamic cover illustration. The penciller has gone on record to explain that as the Nazi regime was cruel and sadistic he wanted to portray them physically as smug, arrogant and remorseless. But by exaggerating such facial features with sneers and scowls he has also slightly disfigured them. Such an erratic ‘emotional’ style also slightly grates when White depicts the more historically well-known characters of Hitler and Churchill. Both of whom are immediately recognisable from decades of published caricatures. But neither of which prosper from the artist’s attempts to dramatically emphasize their feelings upon their faces.
|The variant cover art of "UBER" No. 1 by Caanan White|