Friday, 12 February 2016

Uber #22 - Avatar Press

UBER No. 22, January 2015
Ending “The Shadow War” with something of a disappointingly quiet whimper when compared to some of the title’s previous cataclysmic chapter conclusions, Issue Twenty Two of “Uber” admittedly starts off well enough by depicting the German spy Conrad unceremoniously destroying the interior of Bletchley Park in his bid to assassinate and silence Stephanie. In fact in some ways this five-page sequence exhibits all the infamous hallmarks of an “Avatar Press” publication what with its bold-faced nudity and rather unsettling depiction of human mutilation. Such a suspenseful start however, disconcertingly drawn by Daniel Gete in contrast to the series' supposed regular artist Canaan White, is sadly soon settled courtesy of the revelation that the “pioneering British computer scientist” Alan Turing hasn’t in fact spent the past few installments “in bed” suffering with a cold. But has actually been developing his own superpowers having secretively “tested positive”; an exposé which swiftly costs the Geltmensch his eyes and ability to generate the halo effect.

Having imbued his narrative with so dynamically charged an opening pace, Kieron Gillen’s decision to then populate the rest of this poorly-selling periodical with little more than a carousel of fleeting glimpses as to how the war effort is affecting the Third Reich and Soviet Union proves a decidedly uninspiring one. Certainly many of this comic’s 5,915 readers must surely have felt somewhat cheated by Russian Battleship Maria Andreevna’s disheartening decree that she would not cross the Bug River but instead simply feed “those who come to me” in Kiev and “make the red muck for… [General Zhukov] to make more brave soldiers of the Soviet Union”. And what about the Stafford-born writer’s bizarre plot twist of having Goebbels' face ‘sculpted’ into that of the Fuhrer by Anita Scheele simply so the Reich Minister of Propaganda can replace Sank’s third activated superspy as a ‘resuscitated’ Adolf Hitler? Is it any wonder after such a tiring and somewhat tediously lack-lustre read that the British author actually thanks his precariously-low readership for “staying with us” at the end of the comic?

What doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering the inconsistent quality of Caanan White’s drawing throughout this book and Gete's brief aforementioned stint at the 'easel', is Gillen’s ‘Afterword’ statement that this book will be the African-American artist’s “last issue” on account of the penciller “moving onto Avatar pastures new.” The former computer game journalist is the first to acknowledge that the illustrator’s “done incredible things with Uber.” But sadly much of the “frenetic power” displayed by the Fort Wayne resident during “that entire first year” is lamentably lacking throughout the pages of this particular pamphlet.
The regular cover art of "UBER" No. 22 by Caanan White


  1. Well, whilst I agree with your criticisms, Simon, I was, and still am, more than happy to stick with the series. Indeed, I want to stick with this series to the end but will we ever get to see the conclusion? Issue #27 (the last one published) ends on a dramatic cliffhanger. Surely it can't just end like that?

    1. Glad you agree Bryan, and like you I have stuck with this title until the end. Personally I think Gillen is just too busy presently, writing "Darth Vader" etc. Once he stops penning that I hope he'll turn his attention back to "Uber" - I hope!!