Saturday, December 10, 2011
Review: CLiNT No.12
In this year's final review of a current comic (before this blog embarks on the traditional flashback to old Christmas comics) I'd like to take a look at the latest issue of CLiNT, the adults-only comic from Titan Magazines.
Some people never expected CLiNT to last this long, and I must admit I was a bit dubious myself. It's a harsh market in which to launch a new adventure comic, especially one which contains some stories that are already available in American editions. Yet CLiNT has survived for over a year now, albeit slowing its frequency down from monthly to six-weekly and, with this issue, upping its price to £4.25 (but what's an extra 26p these days?)
Issue 12 starts off with another chapter of Kick-Ass 2 at 12 pages, and Mark Millar promises a full 24 page episode next month. Throughout CLiNT, the violence is extreme and horrific. Some strips manage this with more style than others. Kick-Ass 2 has the benefit of the fantastic John Romita Jr on artwork; an artist who can illustrate gory violence but who still keeps the focus on the exciting pacing of the story. Even the quieter scenes are full of adrenalin thanks to the work of Romita (with Tom Palmer on inks and Dean White on colours doing an impressive job too).
Mark Millar can write this over-the-top stuff extremely well. I wish I could say the same for Frankie Boyle. Rex Royd returns this issue after an absence of several months. I can't say I missed it. I'm not a fan of Frankie Boyle (scriptwriter of Rex Royd) and I'm sorry to say the anger in his comedy act is evident in Rex Royd too. Everyone's dialogue is so full of seething anger that the characters sound like they're on the verge of a breakdown. Perhaps they are and I'm missing the point. There's some good ideas here, (some borrowed from David Icke's claims) and presenting The Bilderberg Group as villains is fine in my book, but there's a nastiness about the whole strip that can be distracting. The bit with the giant hamster was amusing though. Mike Dowling does a decent job on the art.
Who is Jake Ellis? concludes this issue. Interesting stuff from writer Nathan Edmonson and effective artwork by Tony Zonjic.
There's a 12 page chapter of Superior by Mark Millar and Leinil Yu. Again, Millar handles the tone of the strip really well and the story is, as always, a real page turner. The identity of Ormon the ape is revealed this issue which, while not totally unexpected, is presented in fine form by Leinil Yu. I'm intrigued to see what happens next, and there aren't many comic serials I can say that about these days.
A new strip, Graveyard of Empires, by Mark Sable and Paul Azaceta begins this issue, reprinting the Image Comics series. This 15 page segment doesn't really give an indication of what to expect beyond it being a well-researched war story set in Afghanistan, but expect a supernatural element for the next episode.
CLiNT has cut back on its feature content since the early issues and it's improved the comic considerably. The articles that have remained are welcome though, and this issue gives us some teasers for The Secret Service, the upcoming new collaboration from Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. I've admired Dave's work since the 1970s so I'm looking forward to this. There's not much revealed about it but I think we can be sure it won't be about a puppet vicar and his miniature gardener.
Despite my reservations about Rex Royd (which may yet win me over as the story unfolds) I really like CLiNT. If Strip Magazine is the Valiant of the 21st Century, CLiNT is its Action; raw, unapologetic and brutal. Critics may argue that the stories could be told just as well without the excessive violence and profanity, and they'd have a point, but it wouldn't be as much fun would it? CLiNT isn't for the easily offended, or for people who are looking for subtlety. The best thing about comics, or any fiction come to that, is that they can offer variety. I read CLiNT, but I've also read The Beano and Maus. Long may such variety be with us.
CLiNT No.12 is available from newsagents and comic shops. 100 pages, full colour, £4.25.