Thursday, 16 August 2018
THE VIGILANT - ISSUE #1
Well, this was an unexpected move from Rebellion, publishers of 2000AD and curators of the Treasury Of British Comics. Some bright spark realized that they now have ownership of tons of classic British comic characters and had the idea to create a sort of super team from them. Let's be fair, it's a great idea and full marks for giving it a go. You probably won't find this with 2000AD, though, as it's in the smaller format normally reserved over here for Marvel and DC reprints (on the High St, anyway), so if you want it make sure you check there as well.
The smaller format makes for a very attractive product here, and The Vigilant looks excellent, with thick, glossy paper filled with beautiful art and colouring. The main strip takes up half of the comic and introduces us to the nine main characters. the first thing you notice is the lovely art from Simon Coleby (Judge Dredd, the Authority etc), really helped by Len O'Grady's colour. The images leap off the page and are easily the best thing about the publication. The story, by fellow Brit Simon Furman (Transformers, Dragon's Claws and much more) is not so great. This isn't a quick read, as it's quite complex and mystical, and those who try and skim through will just end up confused. I read through a second time and tried my best to follow everything but still ended up a bit baffled, although I was entertained nonetheless. There has been criticism that there's too many characters, and this is certainly valid - the whole thing would have worked just as well if you cut three or four of them. In the end, I enjoyed reading the main strip, and would like to see more, but it needs to be made more accessible to all ages, especially given it's placement in the racks.
The second half of the mag is filled with three strips concerning individual team members. The writers and artists are different to the main story, but everyone does a great job. New character Yao and 70s stuntman stalwart Blake Edmonds (Death Wish) have tales that take place within the main story, as they have been temporarily sucked through a dimension hole. I had to comb my way back through the main story to see where this happened because it's not remotely clear. Anyway, the strips are both pretty cool,l with Tao getting an origin and Edmonds in a parallel universe. The final strip features the Steel Commando and fills in his background for those unaware of what the frack he actually is. It's the best of the three and has a lot of heart to it, as well as a cameo by The Young Ones. these short, self contained strips add plenty of value to the title, and I look forward to more in future issues, dealing with different characters.
Overall, The Vigilant can certainly be considered a success by all concerned. Whilst the main story needs to be simplified a bit and be made a LOT clearer as to what is going on, it still works and retains a wonderful Britishness missing in the plethora of U.S reprint titles. The best thing is to go out and try it for yourselves, supporting a new British comic and having some fun in the process.