Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Glory Book 2: War Torn (#29-34)

"I'm not giving up now.  Not after so much was sacrificed.  I need to see this through" - Glory

War Torn continues the story begun in the previous volume, with Glory and her friends leaving to find Glory's little sister to aid in their fight against Glory's father.  Before we crack on with the plot, I need to fill you in on the "Extreme" Universe.  I wrote about the set-up at Image comics under my review of the Dave Sim penned issue of Spawn.  To briefly recap, each of the founders had their own studio which came under the overall Image banner.  Rob Leifeld's studio was called "Extreme" (oh dear, and when he left Image and formed a new studio he called it "Awesome".  How old was he again?).  Each studio had their characters as part of a shared universe, so for example events in Youngblood would be referred to in Supreme and so on, with frequent guest appearences and crossovers.  Less frequently their might be a reference to an event taking place in the Extremeverse in a comic under the Wildstorm banner.  But generally most characters kept to their own universes and in this volume of Glory we'll be meeting pretty much every character from the Extremeverse, including Supreme, Youngblood and Bloodstrike as well as assorted other characters from those comics.  Rob Liefeld rarely does much in the way of art stuff now, but he did draw a variant cover for the first issue of Glory (the fantastic one that had her standing on a pile of defeated monsters).  Sadly it's just rather dull and generic, and not as mockable the picture of her and Avengelyne I put in my review of book 1.  Certainly wouldn't entice me to buy the comic at any rate.
Why Liefeld!Glory I find your blandness.. ennervating
Now the characters have been introduced and the backstory done with, Joe Keatinge's writing becomes a lot more enjoyable.  With lots of dialogue heavy scenes that affirm the warm relationship Glory's merry little band have with each other and the people they meet, and it's funny and tragic when it needs to be, creating an emotional investment in the characters on the part of the audience, all helped along by Ross Campbell's amazingly good art, he's also an artist not afraid to render women's bodies in different shapes and sizes, which is so refreshing to see in the days of cookie cutter "babe" characters in most comics now.  There are also some guest artists in a couple of issues, rendering flashbacks and small scenes in different styles which are also very good.

The book begins with a flashback of Glory leaving Thule - so her Mum and Dad decide to have another half Demon/Amazon child to act as a peace symbol between their people and Nanaja is born.  Back in the present Glory, Gloria, Riley and Henry are packing up to leave and go find Nanaja. Another flashback shows Glory visiting Nanaja as a young child and Glory says she'll always be there for her even when she is away.  The flashback jumps forward and now Nanaja is a hot-headed teenager and angry at the responsibilities being laid upon her.  A demon tells her she is Glory's "bloodshadow".
Demon: "It means 'sibling outshone by the others greatness.'"

This makes Nanaja angrier and wanting to attack and crush humanity to spite Glory.

Glory and her gang fly to another French town called Buc (Gloria, Riley and Henry on the back of Belesava).  There they meet another old friend of Glory's called Jim.  They make plans to head into Paris where Nanaja is to be found. While the final flashback to the past shows Nanaja leaving for Earth via a teleportation portal.

In the present, Jim and Glory chat as they drive to Paris.  Jim is concerned that Glory will get Riley killed and Glory can't assure him otherwise.  They arrive at the house and Glory tells Gloria that her and Jim will be sharing a bed.  The action then cuts to them both naked and post-coitally sharing a bottle of wine.

Jim: "We have had some times haven't we? The places we've been, the things we've seen.  The lovers we've shared.  Some things never change do they?"
Nanaja and her bedtime companions
The action then moves to Nanaja, also sharing a bed with five (!) men and women.  She is restless and goes to look out of the window, saying to herself:

Nanaja: Come on big sister.  Find me.  Challenge me. Bring whatever you got. Try to take me down.  After all, it's long past time for some ultra-violence."

The second issue starts with a styalised flashback detailing how Glory and Ernest Hemmingway teamed up to take down a bad guy. Back in the present, Riley is impressed.

Riley: "Oh my God! Did they date?"

Jim: "No, no.  She was with another at the time.  For a long time.  I never knew of a more committed couple."

Gloria: "Really?  I didn't know that Glory was with anyone back then."

Riley: " I didn't know Glory was with anyone ever! Dish!"

Jim: "Everyone has their secrets.  I suppose this is one of Glory's"

(We will find out who this mystery person is in the last issue, never fear)

The action then moves to Riley and Gloria in a strip club, running up a large bill.  They start a verbal fight with the bouncer over it and Nanaja comes out to see what the fuss is about.  And Glory bursts through the wall and punches her.  They have a spectacular fight, both getting more demonic as they go, until finally the knock each other out.
Just your normal sibling rivalry
Back at the house, Jim says they were quite tame this time around.  Henry appears saying he's patched them up but they both have some healing to do.  Glory and Nanaja both bandaged and lying down have a chat.  Glory says she needs her because their father has attacked Earth.

Nanaja: "****, if I knew this was about Dad we could have skipped the usual fight.  You should have told me.  I'm always down to **** up that *******."

Glory: "That's it?"

Nanaja: "Count me in."

Back with Glory and Nanaja's parents they worry about their daughters teaming up, that they don't have Riley and have no contingency plans and finally what will Glory and Nanaja do when they find out they have another sister?
Back with the gang who are on an aeroplane, Riley wakes from a dream where she is killed by Glory.  Glory and Nanaja have recovered and they all plan to fly/parachute out of the plane onto Lord Silverfall's house and surprise attack him.  They do so and bust down the door to his living room, only to find no opposition and Silverfall himself clad only in a robe and casually making breakfast.

Silverfall: "Gloriana.  Nanaja.  I figured that explosion was you.  However I must apologise. I don't believe I have enough eggs for everyone.  Would you settle for some waffles?"

Nanaja: "**** yeah.  I'll have some waffles."

Glory: "You have to be kidding me"

Silverfall: "I assure you I am quite serious.  We have an abundance of waffle mix."
Lord Silverfall
While they eat waffles, Silverfall explains his situation, why he has no soldiers and why he isn't fighting Glory. All the soldiers he had left he sent to Mont St. Michel and Glory killed them all.  The reason he had so few soldiers left was linked to the reason why Glory was so beat up at the start of this storyline.

During the war between the Amazons and Demons, just after Glory attacked her father for supposedly killing her mother, a huge monster appeared with a mass horde of followers.  Glory attacked it headlong and was blasted out of the sky.  Somehow she managed to escape back to Earth but with no memory of the beast in question.
The Knight Of Thule
Glory's parents were both still alive and managed to also escape to Earth with the few followers they had left after the monster - identified as a supposedly mythical "Knight Of Thule" - wiped out pretty much the entire population of their planet.  After Silverfall finished his tale, Glory realises that her mother must be alive, and Lady Demeter walks in saying they have a lot of catching up to do.  Glory then punches her jaw clean off in a rage.

Later Glory goes to speak with her mother who's jaw has been reattached.   Glory is pissed at her.

Glory: "I killed so many people for you.  I was ready to kill so many more.  Now I find out it's all based on a lie."
Soz about the jaw Mum
It is explained that the Kinghts of Thule were/are creator Gods for the denizens of Thule, giving them both life and an afterlife.  Silverfall tells Riley and Gloria that he is not sure why this Knight is acting alone.  RIley wonders if it conquered the other Knights.  Silverfall agrees that this might be a possibility and once the Knight finds a rift big enough it will arrive on Earth, they have maybe an hour at most now.  Riley says if they are going to die shouldn't they use this time to say goodbye to loved ones.

Riley speaks with her best friend John and can't bring herself to say farewell. On the beach nearby Henry gives one of his precious cameras to a little girl playing there.  Gloria is approached by a faceless man who gives her a horn called the "summoner" which is specficially designed to kill Glory.  Nanaja bonds with her baby sister.  Demeter and Silverfall make love.  Finally Glory is back outside drinking wine by the bottle.  When Gloria criticises her for wasting her last hour like this Glory responds:

Glory: "I didn't just sit around and drink.  I made a few calls."

Gloria: "Oh really? To who?"

Glory: "Everyone"

And out of a rift in the sky comes pretty much every superpowered character from the shared Extreme/Awesome Universe, with the notable exception of Prophet.
The cavalry arrives
Over scenes of preparation for battle, Glory gives a rousing speech to the assembled heroes.

Glory: "I should be clear.  Today we fight for existence.  We fight for civilisations we'll never know.  We fight for the stars snuffed out in previous battles' wake.  Our enemies purpose full purpose is unknown save apocalypse.  This gives us but one objective.  Today we slaughter a God!"

Silverfall tells her the Knight has emerged from a rift in Tokyo and the use a rift of their own to travel there quickly, finding a scene of devastation.  It's minions are conquered Thulians, the Knight generates parasites that attach themseleves to those it conquers and forces them to fight for it.  Before Glory goes to take it on Riley says goodbye to her in case they don't make it.
Riley and Glory about to go into battle
Glory and the strongest of the heroes go to attack the Knight head on in the sky, while the rest fight the army down below.  Nanaja gets attacked by parasites, and Badrock and Supreme goe to help her, but Badrock get's attacked by them as well.  Supreme says Glory's plan was doomed and that he should take over leading the army.  He attacks her and Beleszava goes to help her but gets killed by the Knight, as does Henry when he attacks it as well.

Supreme breaks Glory's arm to make her yield control to him, but she rips his arm off in return, just as Riley dreamt about in Book 1. Glory then mutates into a monsterious, bestial, one-eyed being, and attacks the Knight, ripping it apart.   Riley realises this is all happening as her dreams predicted and she says the following over images of Glory raging out of control:
Riley: "I know the force Glory has become. I know she has no control over what will follow.  I know the devastation she will bring. I know the sacrifice she will make. I know she can't be stopped now.  Fighting her at this point would be futile.  I've seen what happens when we try.  I know I don't blame her.  I know this is all for the best.  I know what I am supposed to do now... Just know that in the end, I forgive you. I know this prevents something even more terrible. And more than anything... I will always love you."

And Glory rips her in half.
This horrifying act snaps Glory out of her madness, and while a devastated Gloria kneels by Rileys bisected corpse, Glory can only mumble Riley's name in shock and sadness at what she has done.

The final issue starts with a flashabck to 1913 with Glory meeting a girl called Emilie who turns out to be the secret lover of Glory who was her constant companion during the early and mid twentieth century.  Back in the present we see a miserable and literally diminished Glory, minus an arm and with a shaved head.  Her father says he has arranged it with the freed Knights of Thule that she can make one trip to the afterlife, but this is a one time thing and when she dies for real, she'll be confined to the black void instead.  Glory doesn't care - "When do I leave?"
This heaven looks pretty cool
Charon rows her to the fields of the afterlife and she jumps out of the boat and goes running across to where Riley, Henry, Beleszava, Jim and Fabrice all are (Jim having died of a heart attack not long after Glory left) and she has an emotional reunion with them.  Glory wants to take them all away with her out of the afterlife and back to the world of the living.   But Riley assures her that while they appreciate her doing this:

Riley: "Your actions - all our actions - have consequences. In this case they're permanent. We're dead.  Like dead, dead... There is nothing to fix anymore. There's no reset button for anybody.  Even you."

Riley comforts Glory as she cries in her lap and says one day she'll find out that being dead is wonderful. Glory tells her that after the buried her, Gloria left and she doesn't know where she is.   Nanaja and Glory are getting along, and staying with their parents.  The new baby has been named "Riley" much to Riley's delight. Then Jim says that "she" is here.  Glory isn't sure if she should see her. Glory tells them that Emilie killed herself after she couldn't bear growing any older while Glory stayed the same.  And that was one of the reasons Glory became more unhinged, without Emilie to keep her in line.

Glory: "Who know's what she'll think of me now. What she'll think when she sees.."

Emilie: "G-Gloriana?"
Glory and Emile kiss as Henry, Riley, Jim, Fabrice and Beleszava look on

After their reunion, Glory realises she has to leave and she doesn't tell them she won't be able to return to the afterlife.  The story ends with Glory looking more like her old self, with a new arm, and the whole family, Glory, Nanaja, baby Riley and their parents pile into a flying, rocket powered van to adventures new.  How sweet.

It's not quite the end.  Tacked on are two final pages where two faceless men discuss the destruction of the Summoner and how the battle of Tokyo would have been an ideal debut for what they are planning.  They have a long time to plan and one day someone will "pull the trigger" for the "coming of Prophet".  And we see lots of cryogenic storage tubes as this is said.  These pages have literally nothing to do with Glory's storyline, but do have a lot to do with the series that was running concurrently called Prophet, and which is still running to this day.  I've only read the first three trades of Prophet and how events in them link back to these two pages hasn't been covered yet in them.

As for Glory, it seems these twelve issues are all there has been of this new look reboot.  I've checked out my local comic shop and haven't found any more issues on the shelves, and searching online hasn't yielded any useful information.  It's a great pity because Glory is a fantastic character and it was refreshing to have an unconventional looking main character in a storyline that prioritised female relationships in a way few comic books ever do even now in space year 2014.  I have to wonder what Rob Liefeld thought of the decision to make Glory bisexual.  When the X-man he created called Shatterstar was made bisexual and given a male lover he got pissed and very outspokenly said he'd undo it if he ever got the chance (not that him writing for one of Marvel's biggest cash cow franchises is ever going to happen in this day and age).  But female homosexuality is generally less contentious to homophobes, so he probably didn't care.
Glory and Emilie while still alive.
Glory Book 2 overall is a fantastic read.  It pays off plotlines laid in the first book satisfactorily, gives everyone a happy ending (of sorts) and sets it up nicely so if anyone else wants to pick up the series, there is room for a relatively fresh start to be made.  The characterisation is much better in this book with the writing improving by leaps and bounds, and it's genuinely upsetting when Riley is killed as you really care about her by then.  Nanaja is a lot of fun, as a being who doesn't take life as seriously as the straight-laced Glory and seeing the Extremeverse characters in action is pure 90's fanservice of the non-rude kind. Glory really feels like a character with history and totally shucks any last vestige of being a Wonder Woman rip-off to stand on her own two mighty feet. Ending with a plot reveal for a different book is a little odd, but if anything the Prophet reboot is even better than the Glory one and so encouraging people to check that series out can only be a good thing. I wish this Glory was an ongoing series, but these twelve issues across two books tell a self contained, greatly enjoyable story, with strong female protagonists and wonderful, wonderful artwork.  Great stuff.


  1. Wow, the artwork in this just blows me away! It's so good at making people look strong AND sexy at the same time. Riley is adorable and evil!Glory is proper scary. It's sad that Glory will have to go to a black void when she dies, but in her place I'd've done the same thing. (Taking a one-off trip to the afterlife, I mean, not ripping my friend in half. I don't have the upper body strength.)

    It's a shame the series didn't go further after this, but I guess that's better than going on and on and gradually becoming kind of rubbish.

  2. Yeah maybe leaving your audience wanting more is a good thing. I do tend to prefer limited series to on-going ones, and if the writer felt he had said all he needed to say that's cool. I would hope that if the series ran further Glory would find a way back to the afterlife. I want to think of her an Emilie getting to spend eternity with each other, old romantic that I am.

    And the art is superb, I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for Ross Campbells work in future. It really worked with all the monsters he got to portray and yeah, Evil!Glory was a scary beast, poor Riley. But she died to save the world so at least it wasn't in vain.