Sunday, 28 January 2018

Uber: Invasion #10 - Avatar Press

UBER: INVASION No. 10, November 2017
Readily acknowledged by writer Kieron Gillen in the book’s afterword that it “breaks from the episodic model” of the series by being a “two-parter”, the narrative to Issue Ten of “Uber: Invasion” must have frustrated many of its 3,880 followers in January 2018 with its plot’s pedestrian pace and unresolved moments of heightened tension. For whilst the twenty-two page periodical promises a palpably tense game of ‘cat and mouse’ between Siegmund and the American deployment of several “conspicuous ghost units of [fake] Zephyrs”, as well as a cataclysmic confrontation concerning the Japanese Battleship, U.S.S. Bravo and U.S.S. Bluestone, the GLAAD Media Award-winner’s script fails to deliver any of it, and instead simply creates disappointment after disappointment.

To begin with, Stephanie’s ruse to “deploy something that looks like a Zephyr unit” in front of the German’s advance initially sounds like a tremendous idea to keep the enemy temporarily at bay in order to allow the Allies time to start “cooking up the next batch” of their alternate panzermensch build, and provide plenty of ‘cloak and dagger’ shenanigans as the Third Reich probe their opponent’s “technological edge”. Instead however, the Stafford-born author simply has the Nazis utterly ignore the well-coordinated ploy and continue their offensive upon American soil regardless of the lethal threat posed by the diamond-bladed speedsters…

Even more disenchanting though, has to be the debacle at the Manzanar Internment Camp. No less than seven dialogue-driven pages are (mis)spent dealing with the issue as to whether or not Hideki is seeking sanctuary within the war relocation centre, and at the sequence’s conclusion, the only things the readers know for sure is that Vernon Rivers and his younger brother, Freddy, lack the murderously mercenary attitude of their Prussian counter-parts, and that Battleship Yamato is at least “seventy miles west” of where American military intelligence believed he was…

Such a sedentary scene-infested publication really does rely upon its artist to help carry its audience through the story-telling, and for the most part, Daniel Gete’s drawings do more than a reasonable job. Indeed, Sigfried’s post-mortem, as well as Stephanie’s disconcerting discovery of the “Fat Man” atomic bomb, are exquisitely pencilled, and really bring both the Germans and the Allied scientist’s concerns as to the course of the war to the fore. Unhappily, the same cannot be said for the illustrator's work depicting the Axis decision to “frustrate” their enemy despite the apparent presence of Zephyrs, nor U.S.S. Bluestone’s refusal to liquidate an entire settlement on the off chance its sheltering the Japanese Battleship, with both sequences lacking life and (for once) consistency. 
Writer: Kieron Gillen, Artwork: Daniel Gete, and Colors: Juan Rodriguez


  1. Not such a good issue then? No matter, seeing as I'll still be buying the TPB, I'm sure the other issues will more than make up for this lapse in quality. I do appreciate the honesty of your reviews, Simon. You're not afraid to point out flaws and for a reviewer and a reader that is important.

    1. Thanks Bryan. I think this issue is more a matter of missed opportunities than actual poor writing. I do recall Gillen talking in one of his afterwords, perhaps this very issue, that he was tempted to draw out a few of the sub-plots for a bit longer, but then felt it would spoil the pace of the title. If both the 'cat & mouse' and US vs Japanese Battleship confrontation are two of these sub-plots, then I think he made a poor choice. Whether you'd pick up such issues within a tpb though is doubtful tbh, and if you peruse the entire book in one sitting then I don't think you'd notice other than to think what a shame this didn't happen.