|UBER No. 4, July 2013|
Writer Kieron Gillen’s comparison to his narrative of "Uber" Issue Four with that of “the archetypal sports movie. In short: underdog tries to get ready for the big fight” doesn’t really do the breath-taking scope of this periodical's storyline total justice. For a start not many sports personalities prepare for their disciplines by letting a Churchill tank fire at them from point blank range like His Majesty’s Human Patrick O’Connor does… Nor do they watch helplessly as one of their fellow team-mates literally tears their body apart through the strain of lifting an automobile up above their heads.
However this horror-war comic does indeed spend the vast majority of its twenty-two pages building up the reader’s anticipation for the inevitable confrontation between the United States ‘super-airman’ and one of Germany’s “seemingly unstoppable… human battleships.” The British author also does a good job of establishing just what is going to be at stake when the two juggernauts go toe-to-toe… nothing less than the survival of Paris, if not the French continent itself. Something which makes the British government’s drive to better empower “the delightfully burly H.M.H.” all the more tense and desperate. This really is a race against time crammed full of suspense as scientist Stephanie’s “attempt to create enough Ubers” to stand against the German onslaught suffers occasional delays and setbacks. Whilst Markus, Werner and Klaudia make their bloody presence very much felt in the Romanian oil fields, East Prussia and upon the banks of the River Rhine.
But despite the grand scope of his tale, Gillen also manages to push along several sub-plots without intruding too much upon the ‘main event’. In fact many of them, such as Alan Turning’s arrival at Bletchley Park as Head of Cryptography, Winston Churchill’s observations that his country’s best option is simply “to let them bash the living hell out of us until they run out fuel”, and an edgy General Guderian’s obvious fear that “the Allies could have Panzermensch by now” actually help elevate the book’s apprehensive atmosphere.
Artist Caanan White is equally on form, packing his personalities with plenty of pathos and detailed facial expressions as each character, be they German or British, effectively ‘wears their heart on their sleeve’. Alongside colorist Michael Dipascale, the African-American penciller also provides a delightfully subtle “clock on the issue” in the form of Stephanie’s hair; illustrating the passage of time by changing its colour from bleached blonde to “a natural redhead”.
|The variant cover art of "UBER" No. 4 by Caanan White|