Unico Collections Two
Reviewed by R. Krauss
Unico Comics and the Amateur Comics Guild created the Collections anthology as a publishing venue to encourage and support emerging comics talent in the UK. It's an admirable mission and worth supporting.
Several of the stories in this issue are continued. This is always a little off-putting in a small press title. Small press comikers create their work on the side and despite their best intentions, life happens, so readers can never be certain stories that begin, will ever be concluded. To Unico's credit, Collections has issued their third volume already, so let's hope their team sticks with it. They've already established a track record better than average.
Here's a brief description of the contents with a few editorial comments added. There's a sample page from each story following the review.
Snowfall by Phil Cuthbertson and Mark Bell is a crime drama. A police detective with plenty of baggage is back on the job after a four month suspension. His work may be the last thing he's got to keep it together. At the crime scene of murdered woman he's angered at the thought of another unsolved case. The chilling cold of winter reflects his bitter resolve to ensure this victim's killer is found. The opening scenes of this story are a good start with solid storytelling and artwork. However, I'd Lose The Initial Caps Of The Narrative And Dialogue. It Just Makes Harder To Tell Where Sentences Begin And End.
Crash by Michael Burness and David Bryne is a SF yarn. A misfit crew crash lands on an alien world. Not much really happens in the opening chapter, but the unusual characters and their quips—and Bryne's artwork—make for a promising start.
War God by David Wallace and Adam Whitfield (with lettering by Dan Garrett ) is about a gang war and the arms dealers who profit from it. This one is filled with nasty characters, blood and guts, some nudity, and cussing. Wallace creates a nicely twisted cast with plenty of conflict, but there's no one readers can emphasize with. They're all baddies.
The Seven Sentinels written by Marc Olivent and Barry Renshaw , with art by Olivent is shaping up to be an epic battle yarn pitting a small band of super soldiers against impossible odds in a violent, post-apocalyptic Earth. This was my favorite story in the collection. It's fast paced, with the story unfurling through the action. The artwork is very appealing on it's own, but Olivent's strong design makes it even better.
A Day in September is based on a poem by Abie John , arranged by Michael Burness and drawn by Mark Bell . It's about 911 and it's aftermath. A sobering end to a collection of otherwise fictional comic stories. It was particularly interesting to read Burness' introductory page—a British take on that fateful day-followed by a native New Yorker's.
Name: Richard Krauss
Been reading comics: since I started reading Marvel comics in Junior High School.
Review Bio: After several years I discovered titles like Zap and Bijou at a headshop and was seduced by the freedom and variety they offered. When the new-wave comix era sprouted from the seeds of the undergrounds, I quickly joined the ranks of other struggling cartoonists with phenomenally low print runs. After almost a decade of small press comix, I retired and made a solemn vow never to return. Several years later the Internet happened and over time many of my favorite new-wave cartoonists got online. The bug bit again and I started exploring the new crop of small press cartoonists. Today's explosion of small press comics is more exciting than any time I've ever seen.
Favorites: Papercutter, Not My Small Diary, Slam Bang, Comic Eye, stuff from Main Enterprises and Weird Muse, to name a few.
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