Review: Halcyon and Tenderfoot Issue 3
By Daniel Clifford, Lee Robinson and Nadine Ashworth
Halcyon and Tenderfoot is described by Daniel Clifford as “a Pixar remake of Planetary“. It’s not quite reached those heights of genre mashup yet but it’s doing a pretty great job of being a story that Pixar would be pretty darn proud of.
Issue 1 had the tragic death of the hero, and the sudden promotion of his son to the spotlight. Issue 2 had the hero’s funeral, and his son’s guilt in the face of a world looking on. It also had a couple of potentially very important plot threads developing, the first of which you get to see on yet another really cracking cover, as The Halogen Man takes over the city. But the other one saw Halcyon’s former team taking on a slightly grimmer and darker hue, something that gets even darker this issue, so much so that I’m not entirely sure where Clifford will go with the source of villainy in the climax next issue. Intriguingly done….
But back to this issue, where Tenderfoot and Halcyon’s first sidekick Jenny Wren are having a little chat, on the difficult matter of how to deal with the man who killed his dad. But of the pair, it’s Jenny who really wants The Halogen Man’s head.
In a rather faster issue, the pair soon spring into action and go after the newly confident Halogen Man and his cronies, ending the issue in a good old fashioned all-ages worthy scrap, and ending on a cliffhanger.
So it’s another issue that works really very well. There’s still not much of the Planetary and a lot of the Pixar, but that’s fine, it really is. As a Pixar comic this would work so well. The script, story and art throughout have been so strong, delivering a great little comic for children.
Yet there’s a very small problem this issue, and I’m going to bring it up simply because it was really jarring, indicative of how everything else worked so well and one moment of slightly clumsy characterisation surprised me. And it’s all to do with this:
Whilst Clifford managed to create a beautiful nuanced and believable theme of the funeral and Tenderfoot’s guilt last issue, the transformation of The Halogen Man this issue, from terrified coward unable to cope with Halcyon’s murder to super-confident supervillain revelling in his new-found reputation just doesn’t really sit well. Clifford’s attempting yet again to work a little grey into the black and white all-ages emotion, and this time I fear the need to move the story on simply pushed past the characterisation needed. The groundwork in issues 1 and 2 created someone cowardly in his villainy, who took it too far, killed the big hero and suddenly doesn’t quite know how to come back from the bad place he finds himself in, so he runs and hides. And that worked. More than that, it worked on a child’s level as well. Do something bad? Run and hide, pretend it didn’t happen. That’s a very childlike reaction, one the readership of Halcyon and Tenderfoot can empathise with. But then to have the villain suddenly, with practically no encouragement, turn it round and be a bad-guy’s bad-guy, delighting in his villainy….. that sort of spoilt what had gone on before a little. A misstep.
But one that hopefully helps to point out how few there are here, how very much on form Halcyon and Tenderfoot has been, and hopefully with just one issue to go in this first 4-issue storyline, it’s not going to let me down again, even a little.