|UBER No. 8, November 2013|
As a title which “depicts an alternate World War Two in which the Third Reich develops powerful superhuman soldiers” this particular edition of “Uber” definitely lacks any action, despite its events initially taking place “two hours before the Second battle of Kursk.” Indeed the twenty-two page dialogue heavy magazine makes it abundantly clear as to why “this one takes the prize for the most number of rewrites… so far” by creator Kieron Gillen. For it does little more than document the Russian Motherland's own murderously dangerous journey to create "dragons of her own."
But whilst arguably being “a horrible issue”, this first in a two-part story-arc which covers “the scale of human sacrifice on the Eastern Front” still contains some incredibly compelling storytelling, with the British writer’s version of “Uncle Joe Stalin” proving to be an especially captivating character to read about. Grim faced and ‘cold of judgement', the tyrant is a terrifyingly convincing clinical despot, who quickly rationalises that in order to produce his own ‘panzermensch’ he must brutally sacrifice almost half a million of his countrymen to a deadly substance that almost always kills in the most horrifically painful way imaginable; “Do it.”
Equally as harsh is the behaviour of the NKVD Officer in charge of ensuring that the 420,000 survivors of the Berlin rout 'voluntarily' “place the blotting paper” on their tongues. The political Commissar is emotionally and physically exhausted having found none who are susceptible to the catalyst despite “doing this all day”. Yet whilst he has clearly been unsettled by his orders and their agonisingly bloody results, the law enforcement agent remains steadfast in his duty to see them through to the end and ensure that his comrades “die for a better tomorrow”. In fact the 'political policeman' shows himself to be as callously calculating a killer as his Premier when “Katusyha Maria”, having witnessed the carnage of her colleague’s gory deaths, refuses to “swallow the paper” and screams at the man to “just shoot me in the head!”
With such a sedentary script Caanan White has little action with which to invigorate the reader’s eye, and as a result is clearly not at his artistic best throughout this comic book. In fact the vast majority of his illustrations are merely disappointingly competent, with the African-American’s caricature of Joseph Stalin arguably being the highlight of an otherwise unremarkably drawn issue.
|The regular cover art of "UBER" No. 8 by Caanan White|