|UBER No. 9, January 2014|
As a magazine partially dedicated to the fictitious Second Battle of Kursk, this edition of Kieron Gillen’s Anglo-American comic book series is arguably a rather apathetic read which, except perhaps for the unsurprising reveal that Katyusha Maria is a Russian superhuman and its extremely gory depiction of the partial mutilation of the “First Battleship Class Uber”, appears to contain little by way of meaningful plot development.
Admittedly the former British music journalist’s graphically bloody disablement of Werner Frei may well have come as something of a shock to the title’s meagre 8,448 followers, and undoubtedly demonstrates that even the “relatively low-intensity halo” of a Red Army Penal Battalion can cause significant harm to one of the Fuhrer’s most formidable living weapons. But such a vicious entrapment of Battlegroup Siegmund by the first Soviet enhanced V2 humans appears a desperately rushed and deplorably short-lived affair; one which regrettably pales in comparison to the seven-week long genuine engagement of 1943 that Gillen was presumably trying to emulate.
Indeed if not for artist Caanan White’s somewhat shameful portrayal of the conflict within a run of three successive double-splash illustrations and two subsequent full panel pages, the enormity of such an extraordinary ‘military’ event could easily have been confined to nothing more than a single five-framed sheet of paper. Although considering the rather lack-lustre quality of the African-American’s pencilling of the super-powered encounter that may not have been all that bad an idea. Especially as the sketcher’s rather grotesque pictures of Russian ‘Panzermensch’ being dismembered by the German Uber’s “enormous circular shuriken of un-doing” is even commented upon by Gillen within the English writer’s internet-based “workblog” and highlighted as something “Caanan wanted basically to do” having only “talked a little about how this attack would work” with the author.
Instead much of the comic's narrative appears to be unnecessarily bogged down simply depicting the dull day-to-day drilling of Stalin’s “one hundred and one” ‘Tank-Men’. This brutal training regime, despite being far less bloody than the events portrayed on the Eastern Front battlefield, proves a particularly tough time for the long-suffering “tank-lady hero of the Great Patriotic War”, Maria. Who for the vast majority of the book appears unable to manifest even the simplest of Uber-related superpowers, despite having been exposed “to raw catalyst as a shortcut.”
Sadly, despite this woman’s pitiful plight at the hands of her unsympathetic comrades, Gillen’s insistence in making the former sharpshooter an exceptionally foul-mouthed individual throughout makes even these ‘character driven’ scenes a tediously tiring read. Something which simply adds to this book’s overall aura of being little more than a weakly written ‘filler’ issue, whose script was badly bereft of sufficient plot developments for a twenty-two page periodical.
|The variant cover art of "UBER" No. 9 by Caanan White|