In Review: The Vigilant – Maelstrom

The Vigilant - Cover

Editor: Keith Richardson
Publisher: Rebellion

Out: Wednesday 15th August (UK and Digital) – available from newsagents and comic shops

The Vigilant: Maelstrom
Written by Simon Furman

Art: Simon Coleby
Letters: Simon Bowland

When the evil forces of Von Hoffman and Dr Mesmer team up and pluck the immortal Adam Eterno from the winds of time, all of reality is under threat! Only The Vigilant, a mighty team composed of super-beings, warlocks, warriors and monsters stand between us and total chaos! Join The Leopard from Lime Street, Steel Commando, Dr. Sin, Pete’s Pocket Army, Blake Edmonds, Yāo and Thunderbolt the Avenger on their premiere adventure.

The Rebellion-verse begins here!

The Vigilant - Preview

The Vigilant - Preview

The Review: I think it’s safe to say that The Vigilant opens with plenty of action and doesn’t stop, delivering a thrilling, fast-paced adventure that we only go a taster of in last year’s “Death Man – The Gathering” in the 2017 Scream and Misty Special. (A story you may just want to re-read before jumping into this adventure.

(It’s not vital, but given the break neck speed at which characters are introduced, you may want to know more about the cast – or check our who’s who to the classic characters featured).

Bristling with action and packed with a huge cast of heroes and villains, there’s no doubt that Rebellion are determined to make the most of the Fleetway characters they now own in The Vigilant, threading together stories and heroes and heroines from a wide range of classic British comics – Buster, Thunder, Scream and more – into one new whole universe that potentially has as many nooks and crannies to it as anything the Big Two US publishers, DC and Marvel, have developed across decades. As The Vigilant set out on a quest to rescue Thunder character Adam Eterno – who turns out to be far more than just a traveller in time, righting wrongs as he goes, writer Simon Furman treats older readers to a positively joyful reconnection with heroes and villains they may remember from youth, while artist Simon Coleby delivers a powerful story on the art side, despite the huge number of characters he has to contend with and fit on each page.

Not only do Messrs Furman and Coleby have to deliver a new story featuring much-loved characters, but there are new ones in the mix too, providing a bit of diversity to the largely white male cast of old. (It’s great to see new character Yao get  her own back up strip in this Special, which provides some welcome background).

The Vigilant - Preview

Not content with re-introducing readers to some of British comics classic characters, there are plenty of nods to the source material and several one-panel mentions or appearances for many more.

As a whole, The Vigilant works well, although I can’t help but feel that had the modern news stand been more supportive of new comic launches, we could perhaps have done with an adventure comic that introduced many of these reborn characters as individuals, rather than throwing them altogether, at pretty much breakneck speed throughout, from the get go.

(From past experience working on weekly comic Overkill back in the 1990s at Marvel UK, I know that very few readers will even bother to read the nifty “primers” for the heroes and villains featured).

Perhaps, as with Wildstorm’s Albion revival of some older British comic characters a few years ago now, those owned by TIMedia, having been handed a massive toy chest of characters, strips and concepts, the creative team involved on The Vigilant were a bit overwhelmed by the choice offered to play with, and, at times, used too many of them within this opening story.

Quite what readers unfamiliar with the characters will make of The Vigilant remains to be seen, but I’m glad editor Keith Richardson chose to include some back up strips that expand on key characters – Death Wish, the Steel Commando and Yao – which expand on their individual stories.

Overall, I enjoyed this reinvention of many British comic heroes, brought slam up to date with plenty of juggling and all-out action. To continue that analogy, for me, some of the balls might occasionally been dropped, but there’s no disputing the energy and enthusiasm behind this project. Do give it a try.

Let’s hope sales are good and we’re not kept waiting too long before The Vigilant return.

Plus three supporting strips:

The Vigilant - YAO: The Demon Touched YAO: The Demon Touched “Home”?
Writer: Bruce Leslie
Artist: DaNi
Colourist: John Charles
Letters: Sam G

Following the death of her parents at the hands of demons, Yao searches the shadows, hunting creatures of the night and hoping to find those responsible. An injury she sustained during that terrible event has imbued her with the power to pluck a vast array of unworldy weapons from another dimension, known as ‘The Other Place.

DaNi’s art on this background story, set during the action of the main strip, is terrific and the script offers an intriguing insight into this new character.

The Vigilant - Death Wish: Kids Rule!

Death Wish: Kids Rule!
Writer: by Karl Stock
Artist: Henrik Sahlstrom
Letters: Simon Bowland

Once upon a time Blake Edmonds had it all – fame, money, looks… and then the world-famous F1 driver suffered a terrible accident which left him hideously disfigured. After fashioning a mask to hide his terrible visage, Edmonds became a daredevil stuntman, flirting with death on a regular basis.

Flinging Death Wish into the universe of the Action strip “Kids Rule OK“, Karl Stock offers a poignant while action-driven vignette exploring further Blake Edmonds harrowing origin story. He’s definitely a character that could be a real stand out in the new Rebellionverse, just as he was in Speed, where he first appeared way back in 1980.

The Vigilant - Steel Commando: In Between Wars

Steel Commando: In Between Wars
Writer: Aaron Stack
Artist: Warwick Fraser-Coombe, Staz Johnson
Colour: John Charles
Artist: Simon Bowland

Developed by British scientists in World War Two, the Steel Commando became a thorn in the side of the Axis powers. Due to a programming glitch he would only take orders from a lazy private named Ernie Bates. Now he follows the orders of Doctor Sin, who recently reactivated him for The Vigilant.

Of the three back up strips, I think this is my favourite, with some gentle “historical colour” provided to the whole Rebellionverse, with a poignant tale of ex-soldiers role – yes, even mechanical soldiers – when wars end. The art on this, as throughout this Special, is spot on.

The Vigilant - Forbidden Planet Variant CoverAlso on downthetubes

Who’s Who in The Vigilant – Introducing some of the series characters – and who created them

The Strips and Characters Rebellion Owns – an overview of the “Rebellionverrse”

Don’t forget there is a The Vigliant variant cover available from Forbidden Planet, also by Simon Coleby – and London’s Forbidden Planet Megastore will be hosting a Vigilant signing on Saturday 18th August (1 – 2.00pm) with Simon Furman, and Simon Coleby

Web Links

2000AD – Official Site – including the Treasury of British Comics titles

• For those of you totally unfamiliar with British comics and characters, the podcast Heroes and Villains has an introduction to the background to the characters and comics of The Vigilant. (Direct download: TheVigilant.mp3)

Tony Ingram’s review of The Vigilant on Broken Frontier – Some Spoilers

Steve Holland’s review of The Vigilant – Some Spoilers

Lew Stringer’s review of The Vigilant – Spoiler Free

SyFy exclusive interview with Simon Furman about The Vigilant

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