Speech Bubble Burst

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This week, Speech Bubble Burst goes superhero crazy with one
promising title just starting out, and one fan favourite being drawn to a
juddering close. Be prepared for lots of tight, bright costumes and people
being kicked through buildings as we look at Cla$$War and The

Cla$$War #1

  • Published by Com.X, written by Rob Williams and
    illustrated by Trev Hairsine
  • £2.15

If you picked this book up and had an idle flick through it, you'd be
forgiven for thinking "great - another 'gritty' superhero book. Just what
the world needs." However, Cla$$War has more than a few good things
going for it, so don't be put off by the spandex.

Cla$$War is a political superhero book, which may seem like a
curious concept, but in this case it works surprisingly well. The idea of a
superhero who is a living patriotic symbol, like 'The American' in this
book, who finds corruption and scandal among the very establishment figures
he serves and protects is a powerful one.

And that is the story in a nutshell; the American political status quo is threatened with upset by a renegade former champion. However, what The American hasn't bargained for is the ruthlessness of the response, and his old teammates' savage revenge...

Rob Williams' script is full of nice ideas and arresting, eye-catching scenes without ever seeming truly innovative, but given the choice of subject matter, this is not entirely surprising. Still, it is a solid and promising start, and the story hints at some excellent forthcoming issues, so it is worth overlooking any tired-seeming concepts for the time being.

Trevor Hairsine's art is never less than pretty; clear, bold lines and inking are complemented by the bright, visceral colouring, and the action sequences are suitably dynamic. The only grumble might be the fairly uninteresting costume designs of the heroes, but the more interesting characters are ironically the more 'normal' ones, so the spandex-wearing super-types actually seem to fade into the background to some extent. This book is recommended as one of the most solid debuts for a new superhero comic for some time. Try it.

The Authority: Relentless

  • Published by DC WildStorm, written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Bryan Hitch.
  • £14.99 / $19.95

The Authority never feels like a comic. It's so fast, furious and anarchic that it seems like a movie. A massive, 'widescreen' popcorn-fest with eye-popping special effects, ridiculous stunts, over-the-top action and explosions. Lots of explosions.

From the word go, The Authority is sheer entertainment. Not for nothing is the first collected book called 'Relentless'. Yes, it is a superhero book, but forget any of the usual Spider-Man or Batman silliness here; this comic features people being smashed through buildings, flying powerhouses pulverising swarms of deadly alien invaders, and wisecracking on an epic scale.

Warren Ellis has a well-deserved reputation for writing some of the most 'in-your-face' comics around, and his whole range of talents are on display here. Black humour, extreme violence, massive pyrotechnics and fecund invention combine to thrill the reader with the exploits of the Authority, a team of superpowered individuals who protect the earth from harm. Led by the sardonic Jenny Sparks, the characters include comics' most high-profile gay couple, Apollo and the Midnighter. No surprise, then, that one adjective persistently used about this book is 'controversial'.

Bryan Hitch's art must rank alongside some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful visuals yet seen in the Western mainstream comics' world, and 'kinetic' barely does the brilliant action sequences justice. This comic is an absolute must-buy for anyone who likes larger-than-life blockbuster action movies.

What To Look Out For This Week:


  • Cage #1 - Marvel's premier black superhero gets reinvented
  • Ultimates #2 - More high-powered superhero fun

Image Comics

  • Red Star #8 - Sci-fi Russian sorceresses battle amid a future war


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