Many a comparison has been made between Glory and Wonder Woman, but Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell have put a firm stop to that. This version of Gloriana Dementer is far from the voluptuous, scantily clad warrior maiden that often depicts Amazonian cheesecake. She looks like a warrior should. She is a muscle bound behemoth, heavily armoured, scarred viciously and damaged on the outside and in. A protagonist born in civil war, continuing to defend the Earth from invasion, far from ever knowing peace. Her initial appearance way back in issue 23 was battle worn, bed bound, with multiple maladies. A very intriguing way to start a new book and she could not be further from her original incarnations. The next few issues shine light on her impending darkness, and the tragedy begins to take shape. Glory is quiet, reserved and pensive a lot of the time, making her quite insular and difficult to empathise with. She is not sure of the future but knows that her home planet of Thule plays a significant part, and her parents may well be her enemies. It is difficult to build a personal rapport with Glory, but this is compensated for by an interesting supporting cast consisting of her sister Nanaja, two human females, Riley and Gloria, and a childhood monster friend called Henry. It is a strange concoction of characters, but they meld together quite naturally.
Joe Keatinge takes a differing viewpoint on Glory, focusing on her legacy and the relationships she forges over time in relation to this. An inevitable apocalypse is a powerful instrument to use in the narrative to build the support cast and develop their motivations. As we move on from the initial issues the premonitory theme performs a U turn, as what we thought it was, slowly becomes what it isn’t. I love how Glory’s role is established; especially considering in the earlier issues there’s an insinuation that her incessant yearning for battle, may be the root cause of the war itself. This is done superbly with a surprising twist in recent issues and turns the book on its head. Keatinge has developed a set of characters with individual voices, whether it be the child like innocence of Riley or the downright violent conceitedness of Nanaja.
There is a sullen vibe to this book, as Ross Campbell displays immense scenes of gory violence in contrast to forlorn and saddened protagonists. The action and characters are not conventionally pretty, and the world he draws anticipates destruction. There is a heavy notion of violence to the book and there are sequences of bloody battles, family reunions and personal journeys, all in one issue. The flashback pages are coloured beautifully in reds and purples, which represent the battleground sequences perfectly. It culminates the previous issues and sets it up for the final battle. Each character is given time to relieve their burdens and say goodbye. It is not often I like multiple artists in a book, but in using a new peniciller for each character story works very effectively. They do not veer away significantly from the atmosphere but provide a tailored style to the unique voices. If you can imagine the world described as above, and have an intimate scene where Riley facetimes a close friend whilst Nanaja bonds with her fire breathing baby sister, then you are entering the well-crafted, morose but melancholic world of Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell.
“Wow. That’s a lot of wine Glory.”
Credits are due to the additional artists/colourists: Owen Gieni, Emi Lenox, Sloane Leong, Jed Dougherty, Greg Hinkle and Charis Solis