Written by Dirk Van Dom, Matthew McLaughlin, Greg Meldrum, Jim Cameron, Chris Cronin, HdE, Dave Candlish.
Art by Dave Candlish, Stephen Prestwood, Louis Carter, James Corcoran, Jim Cameron, Glenn Fleming, El Chivo, cover art by Matt Soffe.
Published by Dave Candlish
Last time I looked at Paragon, with issue 9, I wasn’t too keen, the content wasn’t doing much for me, and the combination of multi-part storylines with a six-monthly schedule didn’t do much to help keep my interest. And after much hawing and hawing over this, I’ve come down to the conclusion that this one is, although moderately better, just not going anywhere I really want it to go. It’s been another long half year between issues, and whilst there’s some nice enough strips in here, underneath another nice cover, this time by Matt Soffe, there’s just a feel of it being more of the same, and after 10 issues I can’t help but feel it’s too stuck in the grind of making the comic, rather than innovating and surprising. Or perhaps I’m simply looking for something that Paragon isn’t designed to deliver?
Right, let’s dive in with the better stuff…. and it certainly opens with one of the best bits of the issue; Dave Candlish writes and Jim Cameron draws the single page Ganesh and the Lazy Sunday Afternoon, elephant Gods done Rupert style. Simple, yet funny, lightweight stuff.
(Ganesh and the Lazy Sunday Afternoon by Dave Candlish and Jim Cameron)
Following that we have the second episode of the now Kirby-esque style Spencer Nero, James Corcoran’s art a distinct, but attractive enough shift from Candlish’s last time. Having a different artist and a storyline that allows the reader to start afresh each time does sort of work. Or at least it would if the thing didn’t feel just lifeless, flat, and rather too interested in being something too cliched, too knowing. Looks far, far better than it reads.
(UPDATE – blog overlord Kenny Penman points out the error of my ways – Ditko-esque. Not Kirby-esque)
(Spencer Nero by Greg Meldrum and James Corcoran)
Another one-off strip doing an alright job is Oil And Water by HdE and Glenn Fleming, essentially a Tharg Future Shock with a standard twist, featuring a man doing his best to get back to a normal life post-war, or at least that’s what he thinks. It’s unspectacular, solid enough stuff.
(Oil & Water by HdE and Glenn Fleming)
Okay, that was the best of it. At the very end of this issue comes episode four of Icarus Dangerous. I’d enjoyed it at first, but it all feels a little too broken up by serialisation, with each episode doing nothing for me, moving the plot on a little and finishing. Looks nice, but feels incredibly frustrating, as if the story is trying to surface, but can’t quite make it out through the exposition that substitutes for dialogue most of this episode.
If Icarus Dangerous frustrates, Rise of the MekkoSapiens just bores. I said I was nonplussed last time. Now I’m frankly bored, frustrated and confused, I can’t tell you what happened, and I just didn’t care, by page two I was flicking forward. Finally, Ginger Perkins by Jim Cameron was cutesy silly, but simply felt like another tongue in cheek style adventuring tale, and that slot had already been filled up with Spencer Nero, so this one just smacked of going over the same ground. Short, silly, but a bit of a trudge sadly. Oh, and we also get a couple of episodes of Jikan thrown in. This time finishing off Volume 1, even though Volume 2 was published a while back.
It all just feels a little inconsequential and flawed. Paragon is a labour of love obviously, but it’s increasingly proving to be something I can do without.