It's interesting to read a comic about a character and a story line that I've never heard anything about before, even more so when it's an interesting idea. In Glory, I read about Gloriana, a 500 year old warrior Goddess from another "realm", the child whose birth brought peace to a warring and divided planet by virtue of the union of the two that brought her into being. She's been trained for 500 years to do battle, but there is no battle for her where she is...so, she goes to earth to help during WWII.
Pretty good so far, right? That, alone, is fodder enough for one issue, don't you think? Even a couple of issues. A series of frames showing the former war, hopping around the fighting....maybe an issue dedicated to Glory's training. How about a series of vignettes of what she went through during World War II? As much as an interesting storyline that this is, my desire for an elaboration of it is pure wishful thinking. The above paragraph is a minor part of the overall story arc of this issue, and it's almost completely described in narration. Instead of an action comic book, it's a collection of panels where somebody talks about the awesome stuff they had done in previous panels that, unfortunately, there just isn't room to show right now. It sort of feels like I showed up at a party, on time, and there's only one person there and he just keeps telling me about all the crazy, awesome stuff that these really interesting and sexy people were doing right before I got there, but unfortunately they just left and they took all the food with them. But don't worry, he says! There's plenty of talking to come!
Parallel to the story of Glory, this issue tells the story of a young woman named Riley Barnes. As a little girl, Riley has had "dreams" of Glory. I used the quote marks because Riley's dreams told a continuing story from night to night until looping back to the beginning, repeating the same narrative over and over again. It's an interesting sounding idea, although I'll admit I think I might want to kill myself, or at the very least never go to sleep, if I had the same sequence of dreams over and over again.
Somewhere around this point in the comic is where I started to get confused. I initially thought that Glory lived in her mind as a special dream, and that Glory's time on Earth was only known to Glory and the people who had come into contact with her. But her friend saying "Isn't she dead, Riley?", made me have to rethink the whole thing, adn eventually I figured out that Glory was a well-known superhero on Earth while Riley dreamt about her, and that all of these things were occurring at different times.
Anyhoo, this isn't the crux of the issue yet. Essentially, Riley goes on a little expedition to France because she feels pulled there on her search for Glory. When she gets to the small town, she finds out that the waitress at the bar knows exactly who Riley is, and brings her to see Glory - who is totally laid-up, comatose and bandaged, in bed.
I should own up to something: I've skipped a lot in trying to make a point. And what's that, you ask? This is a story that has a lot of potential...but waaaaaaaaay to much is squeezed into one issue. I get that the writer is just trying to get on with the story that he wants to tell...but there's a whole lot of backstory jammed into one comic book to get to that story, and there's a limit to how much of this sort of exposition I'm willing to tolerate. The math just doesn't work out here: it's pages of telling me about the cool stuff I missed, the reasons that big decisions are made (at one point, Glory says that she's "lived", "loved" and "fought" with humankind and now she's going to "be one of them"--I would have really liked to see some, any, of that stuff), and then it ends with what's supposed to be the big dramatic moment, which is the character near death in a hidden back room and the ominous mention of bad-times-a-coming...
So? It's not as if Glory means anything to me. She's just someone who either talks or is talked about.
The unfortunate thing is that there is so much opportunity to SHOW action, and yet the decision has been made to only show what happened AFTER the action. It's always a character telling us about what happened. That's a good trick for a play, but it makes for boring comic books, I'm sorry to say. And when its the type of action being described in these pages? Trust me, "decades of living as a Goddess" is NOT something that should get tossed off and ignored. That's the sort of thing millions of women would pay to read and look at. We already know what that's like to imagine it, what I'd go crazy for is to see the big budget action movie version!
I understand that this is issue 23, and that issue 22 was published in the 90's--I asked for clarification, and it was given. Perhaps this was a big, big, big recap issue. Still - if a picture is worth a thousand words, stop writing so much prose and start drawing some of that action! These characters are drawn in an interesting style I don't think I've seen before. Glory is seriously built and has a simultaneously cute/fierce face. There is a lot of distinction between the characters, which is kinda cool because very often I fee like the only difference in these kinds of comic book characters is found in distinctions like hair or eye color. The difference between Riley and Glory, though, is quite stark. I'm sure it's intentional! Nevertheless, Riley is so cartoon-y compared to any other character that I sometimes felt like I was reading an entirely different comic book whenever she showed up. But again, maybe that's to set the tone for the upcoming storyline. I don't know....we shall see. I'll probably peruse the next issue just to see if this was, indeed, a super long recap story. I hope not. There's a lot of ideas here, and I feel like they are the kind of ideas that deserve a chance. Time will tell!