Written by Mark Howard, Dirk Van Dom, The Emporer, Mark McLaughlin
Art by Dave Candlish, Stephen Prestwood, James Corcoran
Published by Dave Candlish
Another issue of Paragon, under a really nice Jikan cover by Chris Askham. Five strips, four stories, and pretty much the same problem I had with Paragon last time.
I read the complete Jikan Chronicles a while ago. I reviewed it here and rather enjoyed it. I was surprised to see it featured in Paragon 7. And here it is again. Two episodes of it. Which is almost half the issue.
This time round we’re reprinting the “Jikan: Demon Of Steel And Smoke” story – both parts with art by Candlish in two different syles, the second part very nicely done – evoking a little Paul Grist here and there. Like I said in the review of Jikan, some segments of our time travelling warrior’s tale work better, and Steel and Smoke is a good story, although here in isolation it loses some of it’s punch.
However, in the end, no matter whether I like it or not, I can’t help but feel a decision should have been made. You either serialise then collect a story, or you publish as a collection and have done with it.
(Undertow: Underground, written by The Emperor, art by Dave Candlish)
Undertow reaches its conclusion here. Well, a sort of conclusion. I’ve said before about it being a strange, confusing thing…..
“Undertow is doing it’s best to be mysterious and sinister, with it’s tale of a man returned from the dead capable of seeing some strange and decidedly unnatural things.”
“It’s all about John Hyde, recently returned from the dead, who finds out … 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…. [and] his new mission is to wipe out humanity.”
…… but this conclusion just feels like one of those stories where someone either ran out of an idea, or simply got a touch bored by it all. It ends with a whimper, a half finished idea. Truncated and over without really doing much of anything. Shame. The art still has something strangely interesting about it… I’ve said Rian Hughes before and I’ll stick to that… although it’s getting harder and harder to make the connection.
(Rise Of The Mekkosapiens, written by Matthew McLaughlin, art by James Corcoran)
Rise Of The Mekkosapiens is the second part of a strip that debuted last issue, and the errant G127 starts to build a revolution having thrown off his programming last time.
Art okay, story a little hmmmm, dialogue a touch hmm as well, just too static for its own good. It is, to be honest a bit of a nothing strip in story and art.
(Icarus Dangerous, written by Dirk Van Dom, art by Stephen Prestwood)
Icarus Dangerous was a highlight of the last issue, and continues here, again the most enjoyable strip of the issue.
But even here there are problems, with Van Dom slightly stumbling over his ideas and not delivering the same straight forward and enjoyable story he did in episode 1.
All in all, not the best issue of Paragon I’ve read. The Jikan problem means effectively there’s just three strips of interest in here. Undertow just petered out to nothing, Mekkosapien hasn’t really got my attention and Icarus dissapointed from the great start last issue.
A shame to be so harsh on something Candlish obviously puts a lot into, but it just felt too patchy all the way through I’m afraid. but still, nice cover.