Bluespear – the first of the 45 continuations. Why?
Written by Andi Ewington and Eddie Deighton, art by Cosmo White
[It may be useful to have a quick look at the review of Andi Ewington’s 45 book first.]
Right, well, the thing is, Andi Ewington’s 45 was interesting and rather innovative down to its format and content, the idea of pulling together 45 stories of 45 superpowers, each one with just 2 pages; left art, right text. And that was it.
That he managed to keep it fresh and interesting all the way through, that he managed to get a semblance of collective background story in there as well, that was the impressive thing.
It worked, but there was the suspicion that Ewington had done everything he wanted to.
Which is why my first reaction to seeing press copy announcing this Bluespear volume from Ewington, ComX publisher turned writer Deighton and artist Cosmo White was rather one of throwing eyes to the sky, ho hum, shame they’ve decided to do the inevitable.
What we get in Bluespear is an adventure of just one of the heroes from 45. Bluespear being the Tokyo based hero whose origins we learnt from a single page interview with his guilt ridden brother. He’s a water hero, Ewington’s Aquaman with an eastern bent.
(Impressive superhero visuals start off Bluespear from Ewington, Deighton and white, from Com.X)
The real problem I have with Bluespear is really obvious from the moment you open the book and see the Bluespear entry from 45. That single page of art and single page of interview text actually has more to it than the fairly decompressed story that follows. And that’s some 40 pages long.
And then there’s the ending. Or sort-of, maybe, to be continued possibly sort of endng. It’s alright to be a little mysterious, but the whole storyline here revolves around Bluespear being hunted down both by Tokyo crime bosses and a covert US superteam from the XoDOS organisation.
It builds through the book until the ending where it just delivers… well, it doesn’t really deliver anything conclusive. And it does it all too quickly in the end. And yes, after reading it, and doing a little hunting around, it soon became clear that Bluespear was just part one in a three part tale. But I don’t like to do research before reading something, and on that initial reading Bluespear, as just a standalone story, comes across as fairly basic, pretty well done, but nothing out of the ordinary, superhero stuff, with an ending that frustrates.
(Two panels and the whole plot of Bluespear…. XoDOS wants the weapon. No doubt we’ll find out why in the next volume. But it’s simply not enough to wrap 40 odd pages around. From Bluespear by Ewington, Deighton and White)
The three stories will, according to what I’ve read, expand upon the 45 story, fleshing out the shadowy XoDOS organisation through Bluespear, X, and Skyline. They will expand upon the quest started by prospective hero parent John Stanley in the original book. But again, I have to ask… why? 45 was something original and interesting. Adding to it just seems to serve to dilute the impact.
But what we have here in Bluespear, on first reading is a superhero story with a little intrigue from the inclusion of X and Skyline, all over too quickly, inconclusive and frustrating. Essentially it’s a case of Bluespear versus XoDOS, throw in a couple of operatives, grab Bluespear’s magical staff thing and that’s about it. It’s pretty much all here just to set up the next volume. And it’s just not enough.
(40 odd pages just to let Skyline deliver this line, setting up the next volume with X as a rogue, that’s the problem with Bluespear. From Bluespear by Ewington, Deighton and White)
Yes, there’s stuff in between, and as a simple little superhero book it’s nicely done as it goes, the art has that early Alan Davis / Bryan Hitch sort of style, and the storytelling suits it as well – the big, big panels have very little text, making the whole thing a quick read. Too quick really. But after the good read that 45 was, with its original concept, just delivering a sort of okay superhero tale does nothing but lessen the impact that 45 had.
So, as good as 45 was, perhaps it really should have stood alone, as this continuation really adds nothing, and possibly takes away from the interesting storytelling device Ewington delivered there.