Glory #34 saw the finale of the second incarnation of the Rob Liefeld creation. Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell have developed a wonderful series that develops the personal rapports of Gloriana Demeter and her troupe, amongst a backdrop of violent war. Glory is such a multi-faceted character that her obvious warrior like external appearance, is balanced with a deeply sensitive and caring personality. From the image below you would be mistaken for thinking that this is a comic book about raging battles with stereotypical superheroes. On deeper inspection, it is an image of Glory leading a rally with her family and friend’s beside her, grandstanding to all types of powered beings. It is visually quite spectacular with the thickened pencilling and vibrant colours, revealing classic superhero designs. I just adore how Glory’s hair seems to have a mind of its own and, not only provides grandeur to her character but also assertion and dominance.
Glory looks far from feminine, often the fact she has breasts and long flowing hair are her distinguishing features from a typically male muscular physique. Refreshingly in the mainstream world of comics, her sex appeal is minimal which is befitting her lineage of warriors. She is a strong and valiant hero; this is a far cry from the initial inception of Glory by Liefeld. Campbell produces a terrifying and aggressive image when Glory is in battle mode. Her face literally transforms into a roaring visage and the results are graphic and bloody. It is here that the thicker pencilling and vivid colours really come into play. She looks like an effective fighter and her battles are visually impressive, because extensive physical damage is displayed. The artist is not afraid to show the horrific gore as a demonstration of brutal prowess.
In contrast to this beastly aggressive nature, is the woman at home. She has her dedicated friends with whom she shares moments of love and tenderness. There is also a nervousness and anxiety that exists when she deals with deeper personal issues and Campbell approaches this in a subtle way. As Glory’s face is quite large with small features, her expressions are more slight and delicate in nature. Her shyness and quaint smile are apt for someone that can literally engulfs in rage. It portrays a character that is at home on the battlefield but deeply uncomfortable relaxing with other people. There is a lovely dichotomy at play here and it is conveyed very well.
This final panel below demonstrates the artwork I will dearly miss, and it comes from its final pages: the depressed and redemptive Glory. Her physique is clearly a fluid state and there appears to be some control of it, hence the changes in battle. When the war is over, her body becomes more of a regular shape and I am not sure if it is indicative of a fall from grace, but she has no hair. She struggles to come to terms with the losses in victory and is despondent in her grief. Her shape, posture and facial expression speak volumes and it incites sadness in the reader. The pencilling is lighter and more delicate and a far cry from the denseness of her battle speech. Both Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell have taken a cheesecake character and developed her into a complex and realistic hero. She is terrifying in one world but sweet and sensitive in another, which is a level of depth rarely seen in comics today. In a world where most superheroes are strong with little vulnerability, it is great to see a character with real frailties and a creative team happy to express them. Glory, you shall be missed.