Paragon 5 – the elephant’s back…..
Paragon Issue 5
Published by Dave Candlish
Contributors: Dave Candlish, The Emperor, Stephen Prestwood.
The Paragon anthology title, last seen with issue 4 is back with a pretty striking cover by Dave Candlish, featuring Battle Ganesh, “the six limbed superhero from the sub-continent!“. And inside it’s full (a little too full, but we’ll get into that later) of five eclectic strips.
Battle Ganesh features in three of the five strips in Paragon 5; two wonderful little oddities by Dave Candlish and the continuation of Battle Ganesh’s space bound quest from issue 4 by the Emperor and Stephen Prestwood. The Dave Candlish strips are pastiches, first is “Oor Ganesh“, a what if Dudley Watkins drew Ganesh and the second is “Ganesh vs Deathwheel“, done, improbably enough in the style of Lego characters. Two strange choices, slight and inconsequential perhaps, but they both work well and are lots of fun:
(Dave Candlish gives us “Oor Ganesh, done in his best Dudley Watkins. From Paragon 5)
(And then goes on to give us a tale of Battle Ganesh – Lego style! From Paragon 5)
The main Ganesh story follows the events of last issue with Ganesh and his gang of fellow Gods finishing up with their annoying case of Kali crabs and realising their in a little more trouble than they first thought as a hoard of demons are now on their trail. I said it last time and it still applies here; the storytelling and artwork occasionally get a little confused, but overall, it’s still entertaining stuff in what’s still the most polished work in Paragon.
(Battle Ganesh finishes up with his crabs, complete with the gag – “just can it”. By The Emperor and Stephen Prestwood, from Paragon 5)
I spoke about the trouble I had with “Undertow” with issue 4 and the 6 pages here do nothing to really dispel that trouble. It’s all about John Hyde, recently returned from the dead, who finds out this episode that he was killed because he’s destined to become the next messiah, but he’s not our messiah, he’s the messiah of the people who lived on this earth before us; smaller, elfin like things whose co-existence with early mankind grew dark and fearful whilst their appearance grew to reflect humanity’s image of them. Which is why he’s now sat in a pub talking with a very demonic looking little elf thing who tells Hyde that his new mission is to wipe out humanity, either that or face the forces that currently rise against him. Who probably include the man who spent the episode invading a distant mountain-side monastery seeking an ancient artefact. But we’re not sure. Not yet. Next time will tell perhaps? Again, a fragmented tale, albeit this time one that filled in an interesting reason for Hyde to be brought back from the dead.Yet again, Candlish’s art has a touch of the Rian Hughes about it.
(Back from the dead, John Hyde now finds out he’s a messiah with a tough job to do. By The Emperor and Dave Candlish from Paragon 5)
And the final entry in Paragon 5 is another Candlish tale, this time looking rather like it was drawn in a style reminiscent of early Phil Elliot or Paul Grist, all thick, spare lines and strong blacks. It’s a nothing story, too short to do anything more than intrigue, concerning the hiring of a Julian Ruby, hitman, who’s motto of “no job too small” is fortunate in this case as the men in white at the start of the strip have a midget they want removed. Off to Newcastle he goes, complete with gags about the girls, their lack of clothes and a meeting with a contact. Julian Ruby has some cracking art from Candlish, and it’s an interesting partial idea, just not enough of it.
(The men in white reject some familiar names before settling on our man Julian Ruby. By Dave Candlish from Paragon 5)
Both Undertow and Julian Ruby suffer from the same problem; they’re both paced for a much larger page count and the pages here just aren’t enough for the strip to engage in any way beyond curiosity or possibly frustration. It’s a real shame as both strips have a lot of potential, but there’s just not enough here to let them live up to it. This is what I meant about Paragon 5 being too full right at the start of this review. It should have been a strip lighter and either Undertow or Julian Ruby given the room to breathe. Maybe next time?
Paragon is still an enjoyable comic, and filled with an intriguing mix of eclectic strips that make it well worth a look. But it suffers from trying to pack too many short strips in between it’s covers, leading to a bit of a frustrating read.
Details and ordering information from the Paragon blog.