Friday, July 11, 2014

Glory: The Complete Saga Is Not So Glorious.

In fact, it's kind of ... bad.

I haven't been having too much luck with ARCs of graphic novels/comics on Netgalley lately.  Maybe I should stick to my FirstSecond review copies for a while...

I didn't get into comics until pretty recently, so I know very little of comics history or reboots or things like that.  Rob Liefeld, who helped found Image Comics, created the character in the 90s.  I didn't read comics in the 90s.  I read Little House in the Big Woods and everything by Sharon Creech. Perhaps it was that general 90s-ness that put me off of comics for a long time.  I mean, back then, Glory looked like this:


It's a hair band meets Pamela Anderson meets severe failures in drawing human anatomy.  In the first panel, I thought that the rounded ... thing was not a shoulder but rather a buttock.  I'm glad it's a shoulder.  Evidently, the ideal super heroine in Liefeld's mind ran around saving the world with two bowling balls strapped to her chest, teetering along on unimaginably tiny feet.

This is the Glory of Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell's collaboration:


I mean, this is better.  Glory's got MUSCLES.  She's built like a tank.  This is someone I can see being a superhero.

I've been poking around the internet, and it seems that a lot of comics aficionados really like the new Glory.  I have to wonder if that's because the previous incarnation was so bad.  Because I didn't find much to love in the new saga, either.

Cue the dramatic narrator voice: In a world divided by war, two beings unite to create a child.  This brings peace to the realms ... but not for long...

So, Glory's dad is some sort of Underworld creature and her mom is a "goddess," whatever that means.  I don't quite grasp the concept of ending a war by procreating.  It's like they did it just because.  Then, Mom and Pop spend 500 years training Glory for Her Destiny.  I never quite got what that was, because when Glory goes to Earth, Mom and Pop are all, "We're clutching our superhuman pearls!  Don't go mess around with those silly humans!" and Glory's all, "Nyah nyah, loser parents, I'll do whatever I want."  While on Earth, she fights Nazis and attracts the attention of all of Earth's other superheroes who have really stupid names.  The Big Buff Guy who is like Superman on roids doesn't like Glory.  Wahhhh.

Modern day: a young girl named Riley Barnes dreams about Glory, who has now mysteriously disappeared from the world-saving scene.  She tracks her down to Mont-Saint-Michel.  Evidently this whole sequence occurs so that the authors can write "in French," which means, "I wrote some stuff and popped it into Google Translate, yo."  

Okay, I admit it: I am a language snob.  I don't always follow the rules myself, but that's because I'm not a professional writer.  I write for fun.  If you are publishing something, it behooves you to get yourself a copyeditor or something.  I always cringe a bit when I see that comics include different languages.  Now, sometimes they're done well.  Gene Luen Yang is a perfect example of this.  Whenever he incorporates hanzi into the narrative, it has a purpose.  

Characters don't necessarily say things horrifically badly, but they say them unnaturally.  Fabrice, the older Frenchman who Riley meets on the island, announces to the bar "J'ai trouve un americain."  First of all, the lettering leaves off all of the diacritics except for the ç.  The whole time.  This is problematic because gee, those marks aren't just for show or to drive French students crazy; they tell you a) how to pronounce a word and b) which word it is.  Secondly, Riley is clearly female, so she should be "une americaine."  The woman living at the bar who can help Riley, Gloria, replies "J'arrive tout de suite."  That's a perfectly fine construction, but I would have just said, "J'arrive!" because it already implies that you're hurrying.  Another "eek" moment comes when an older man asks his wife if she's seen his wallet, only what he actually says is "Chérie, aurais-tu vu mon portefeuille?" which translates to "Honey, would you have seen my wallet?"  This makes no sense--he's using a future conditional tense.  Also, there's no translation for people who don't speak French, and I would have preferred the two languages to have been written in different fonts or weights to distinguish between the two stylistically.  

Anyway, Riley starts having visions of her future with Glory and Gloria, and it's not a good future.  Glory is convinced that she must build an army to fight The Bad Guys.  Her reasoning is: "because I want to," and because Glory is big and has hair whose mass is larger than my car, all the other superheroes are like, "Okay."  Then she rips off a guy's hand and things are just a mess, both literally and figuratively.  

I don't quite understand Glory's ever-shifting appearance, either.  It may represent her fall from her original glory (ha ha ha PUNS!), or ... I don't know.  But she starts out looking like a titaness with white hair and ends up as a cross between a twi'lek, a frog, and a Transformer.

I really like several of the series that Image is publishing currently: East of West, Lazarus, Chew, and The Manhattan Projects.  Unfortunately, resurrecting Glory may have been a miss.  It was a big mess for me to wade through.

I received an ARC of this title from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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