Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Zuda review OPSEC/ From across the pond a spy story cometh

Initials work for a online alias, not so well for a comic title

OPSEC is another May zuda comic done by James Alexander Bott, and Dean. The art is the strong suit, the story decent which earned it a 3/5 star rating from me. Here is the synopsis: The greatest evil is the indifference of good men. Britain is in a volatile state as the European Commission debates on whether to grant Turkey full membership in to the European Union. Zealous right wing politicians and tabloid newspapers are scaring the nation with messages of paranoia and invasion. The streets are swamped with Islamist and right wing protesters. Britain will soon become a war zone. Someone must come to the fore to stem the flow of bloodshed and light Britain's path to a new world of multiculturalism and acceptance. Dr Nadhir Saleh is a peaceful and intelligent man. His only hope is that he has the strength and determination to help put the country back on track. To convince the general public that it's time to stand up and fight for what they believe in. Only through unity will Britain's citizens move forward into a brighter future. There are others in this world whose intentions are not honourable as Dr Salehës, who see this current situation as an opportunity to further their own despicable objectives. Dangerous and driven men capable of unthinkable evils. Tom Carter is working for the British Government. A career soldier, formerly of the Special Air Service, Carter was recently enrolled into a new government sanctioned operation. A group of solo deniable operators tasked with tracking and discreetly eliminating threats to national security.

Obama closes Guantanamo..... er not so fast mate

It was a very impressive opening screen, that did a good job (the news crawl was a nice touch) of putting you in this world James created. It was exposition heavy, but it did what it needed to do to set up how things were in this world. You can't know the players without a scorecard and it's nice to me all the major belligerents in the first and possibly only 8 screens. The most effective panel by far was screen 2 panel 1, we see a dead Muslim along with a quote from the Quran, a striking design that was starkly effective. I'm sure the Islamic militants/ terrorists in this story as in real life think they are in the pursuit of justice, so it works on a number of levels. Screen 2 panel 4 making allowances for the difference's in slang, I've heard that view a number of times in real life. Bringing reflectons of real world politics into it gives this strip more of a hook to grab leaders with than most. The text box thought balloons make their appearance on screen but they're well enough written. All the words are easy to read, good lettering always helps my disposition. The art is very impressive through out, and smooths over some dull edges in the writing as far as delivering on the synopsis promise. The dialogue and text was not a problem, story structure, plot elements, and pace were. An IRA terrorist, must we drag this tired old stereotype out yet again? The creator could have least put a different spin on it and had it be an Ulster Unionist gone round the bend or something. You have the BNP in England ready made to fictionally adapt to produce a terrorist bomber/killer without the really bad cliche of a mad Irish bomber. The creator of this comic is from the U.K. but falls into a American movie style stereotype by screen 3. Adding one too many ingredients can spoil the whole pot. In screen 5 panel 2 I liked the inclusion of a picture on the TV screen. The ten panel 'Dexter style' take out sequence on screen 6 was the second highlight of the comic, and would have made Steranko proud. I also have to compliment the colors in this comic, a job very well done by the colorist.

Prime Minister question time it isn't

As readers come upon the last two screens of course to story starts to get moving. On screen 7 in panel 4 in of the bad guy's has the oddest expression on his face, to match the oddest blue eyes, but other than that, very good action layout. Course it ends in a shoot out with the last image we see being our hero shooting his gun. You wouldn't think a shoot out could be anti-climatic, but it was. I would have liked to seen some of the other villains in the story, or more of the good guys fighting for peace. I didn't feel Carter was in any real danger, I didn't even think their was a chance the bad guys here would catch him alive. I figure he will win the gun battle in short order. The spy elements were well done and fairly interesting, but the current political climate in your world was more interesting, but didn't get enough face time. I thought more of the strip than if it would have been set in the states. It was a nice change from the big cities that usually take a staring role in these types of stories in the U.S.A. I really enjoyed all the slang, again it set the story apart from what was expected which I liked. Not surprised at all James already has a gig drawing the comics, the man's talent is obvious.

England beats New England by a county mile


Spy stories can be, and usually are trite. They need something to set'em apart: sex, violence, or sex and violence usually gets the job done. Setting this comic outside the states went a long way to avoid that pit fall, but it needed something else. The first screen and synopsis lead me to believe this was more of a political story dealing with real world issues. The rest of the screens didn't back up my knee jerk view. Tom Carter brutally executing enemies could have been riveting, Tom Carter being forced to defend his self gave the reader cool actions scenes. Not much in the way of characterization I haven't already seen before The text box thoughts of Tom were pretty good, but the competition quality this month made 'pretty good' fail to measure up. This comic was close to grabbing me as a reader, but the creator didn't quite get the job done. If my past views on other creators is any indication: James will try again for zuda with a even better submission, and get a much better grade from me, maybe even a vote.

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