Writer: John Ferguson
Artists: Claire Roe, Gary Welsh, Tone Julskjaer and Lauren Knight
Letterer: Phillip Vaughan
Publisher: Diamond Steel Comics
Released: 27th August 2015
When Saltire: Invasion was first launched in 2013 and reviewed by downthetubes, Diamond Steel Comics took a leap into the unknown. A comic featuring a Scottish superhero was not exactly what you would consider sustainable. Looking back we have a number of examples of uniquely Scottish characters such as Judge Ed MacBrayne from the pages of the Megazine and Middenface McNulty from a number of Strontium Dog stories in 2000AD. We also have such characters as The Red MacGregor from the pages of D C Thomson, amongst many that I have yet to mention. However, unless you count the example of Electric Soup, none of them would have given anyone the idea to consider the potential of a long term sustainable comic company based around almost exclusively Scottish characters.
Yet, we are now in 2015 with a deluxe version of the original Invasion being launched at the Glasgow Film and Comic Con in Braehead. If you have enjoyed the series so far, I thoroughly recommend that you add this book to your collection as soon as you can afford to. The original introduction of Saltire has now been expanded into the two books Inception and Invasion.
As a result, the story flows much better, with the origin of Saltire being told in Inception. Even here at the start of the story, we can see the seeds of Saltire’s fallibility being sown, the origin story a clever mix of Pict and Celtic legends with a bit of Norse thrown in for good measure. Where legend does not provide the author with the stories he needs, he weaves in his own interpretation.
All this additional material now gives the series a solid anchor, which I think was an element that was needed to propel this story forward. After all, if you do not know where you are coming from, how can you know where you are going to?
The story of the destruction of the Ninth Legion is still the focus of Invasion. However, some sharp editing and some tweaks to the artwork shows that the editorial team have also grown and learned in the past two years as the story of the destruction of the only legion known to have entered the land of the Picts is retold in a style redolent with the blood of the Empire. And it feels like a much more vibrant tale that you would be happy to recommend to friends and the readers in your life.
At no extra cost, the back pages are full of concept art, a couple of pages of fan art and a few posters that remind me of the cut out and keep posters that featured in many comics from days gone by.
And there is a lovely new poster by Alex Ronald that is worth seeing.
Saltire – Invasion Deluxe Edition by John Ferguson with art by Claire Roe, Gary Welsh, Tone Julskjaer and Lauren Knight is published by Diamondsteel Comics. Web: diamondsteelcomics.com; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saltirecomics; Twitter: https://twitter.com/SaltireComics
A life-long comic fan, specialising mainly in UK adventure comics, Colin did his very best to support his passion for the comics of his youth, Commandos (still going!) and any small press that interested him. Sadly, Colin passed in March 2021, an invaluable downthetubes team member, much missed by us all