Friday, 8 February 2019

Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #1 - Dynamite Entertainment

Described as a dark, humorous, and relentless love song to the genre”, this first in a “five-issue series from writer Kieron Gillen and artist Caspar Wijngaard certainly started the creative team's collaborative efforts off with a satisfyingly big bang courtesy of its opening featuring an alien invasion mercilessly wiping out the human inhabitants of an entire city. Indeed, the fleeting glimpses provided of the multi-tentacled, squid-like extra-terrestrials, almost sombrely floating through the destruction around them killing anyone foolish enough to have come out of hiding, genuinely seems to provide Issue One of “Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt” with a far more impressive, sense-shattering re-imagining of H.G. Well’s 1897 serial “The War Of The Worlds” than Steven Spielberg’s 2005 American science-fiction action horror film arguably ever did…

Disappointingly however, what then follows is an incredibly lack-lustre, dialogue-heavy conversational piece featuring a myriad of different colourfully “trippy” characters and a rather sedentary summary of Thunderbolt’s origin whilst the super-hero’s friend Tabu serve’s his guests their “preferred beverages”. Admittedly, this speech-laden sequence, debatably badly bloated by a pair of splash pages, does depict the instantly irritating Supreme Justice getting “his ass handed to him” by the titular character in an impressively-sketched demonstration of close combat fighting skills. Yet it isn’t until Pete Morisi’s “Charlton Comics” creation returns from having consulted his ancient scrolls that this book finally starts to deliver on its British author’s belief that “this is a comic about how we could be better” than “a lot of things with superhero comics.”

In fact, the only drawback to the pulse-pounding battle which follows is how decidedly one-sided and frustratingly brief the flurry of fisticuffs is. Blasted from out of its command vessel by China’s radioactive champion, and then battered into pulpy pieces by their fists, the alien’s pink-hued, wide-eyed commander-in-chief is surprisingly quickly dispatched. Such a loss of leadership proves catastrophic to the alien’s hierarchal structure, and subsequently within the space of a few prodigiously-pencilled panels the seemingly invincible invasion of Earth is quashed dead in its tracks; “I’d normally pretend to feel bad about this. But you killed a city, so…”

Lamentably though, for some reason Gillen decides not to allow his twenty-page periodical’s conclusion to end on such a high note as Supreme Justice astonishingly admitting that Thunderbolt is the planet’s “born leader”. But instead, questionably takes all the ‘sting’ out of the publication’s explosive narrative by revealing that the extra-terrestrial’s attack was actually an attempt by another Cannon from an alternative universe, who wanted to use their assault as a way to draw the different nations of the world together against a common foe.
Writer: Kieron Gillen, Artist: Caspar Wijngaard, and Colorist: Mary Safro

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