I thought that the first Universal War One mini-series by Denis Bajram (all reprinted and translated from the original French comic, as is this series, as well) had a lot of strong moments and an intriguing premise (with very nice artwork by Bajram), but I thought it was also weighed down by the following two problems:
1. The characters were borderline caricatures of actual characters, save for one scientist character (not to mention the fact that the concept behind the crew of characters is the basic plot behind the Dirty Dozen)
2. The plot drew to a screeching halt when Bajram began detailing the intricacies of time travel.
This mini-series has strong improvements in both instances, resulting in an overall good comic book.
Bajram is a wonderful artist, and the book looks fabulous. On that note, Marvel put together an impressive looking package. Yeah, the book is six bucks an issue, but the book also has more than twice the page length of a normal comic book.
At the end of the first volume, our protagonists had returned to the past after their journey in the first issue. The problem is that the bad guys still have their devastating weapon of mass (MASS) destruction, so the heroes determine to come up with a way of stopping them before they use said weapon to cause massive destruction to the Earth.
To do so, they first travel to Earth. This is the highlight of the issue, and it was great to see Bajram spend a lot of time developing the characters a great deal more, particularly the scientist character I mentioned before, Kalish. Bajram also has a LOT of fun with examining what Earth is like in the future. I especially love when they visit a McDonalds where there are waiters delivering the diners their cheeseburgers (in the cardboard box, of course).
One of the “drawbacks” of this comic is something that I don’t think really counts as a drawback (hence the quotes), because Bajram’s original story was not intended to be split into two mini-series, so the act of doing so does play havoc with the way you read the story, as this mini-series makes some extremely obscure references to the first mini-series that are difficult due to the time between the two series. But, again, this is not Bajram’s intent, so I can’t really blame him for it.
In any event, after the time spent on Earth, we get to the climactic twist of the book, which is a stunning wave of destruction that Bajram depicts beautifully.
Bajram, at times, does have the plot go through some rough patches. This is not the fault of Paul Benjamin’s translation, as it is clear that this is the plot – it just sort of stops and starts in various spots. If he could only fine tune his story a bit more, the book would really cook. Still, this was a steady improvement over the first book, especially in terms of
1. The characters developed more
2. The plot was more interesting.
So I am pleased – I hope the improvement continues for the rest of the series.
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