Blue Spear

Blue Spear is the first book to spin out of Andi Ewington’s epic book, “45″, which is Com.X’s near as dammit flagship book of the last few years.

“45″ was an introduction to a new, super-power infused universe through the eyes of a journalist, with each double-page spread presenting art by a different artist, and a page of prose describing an interview with a different, power-touched character. Ewington and his collaborator Eddie Deighton gave us a window onto a rich and involved world there, and suggested some time ago that they wanted to explore that world further, and Blue Spear is the first stage of that expedition.

(In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that the Com.X guys have been very supportive of MOMB from the start, and we’ve in turn been very enthusiastic about all things “45″. Still, we wouldn’t be into it if we didn’t think it was kinda cool.)

So, Blue Spear was one of the most interesting characters in Ewington’s universe, helped in part by the fact that we didn’t learn very much about him at all to begin with. But what we did learn was that the enigmatic vigilante protecting Tokyo has something to do with Akira Tomikawa, and it’s this relationship that gave the page of prose introducing the character – reproduced at the front of this book – real emotional resonance. Tomikawa’s brother was lost to the sea some years before, and there is some evidence to suggest that the Blue Spear is his lost brother, but also that it may not quite be as simple as that.

And it’s this connection that presents the emotional heart of this book, as it takes the characters, and some others from the “45″ universe, and gives us a longer look at them.

The enigma of who the Blue Spear is, where he came from, and whether he has any humanity, is explored here, and seeing his world through Tomikawa’s eyes is the most engaging and intriguing thing about it, giving us something a little different from the norm to get our teeth into. Actually, though we see Blue Spear in action a few times throughout, I think he and his story are a little under-served in terms of how many pages we get, with much of the book taken up following a team from the organisation XoDOS, as they try to track him down for their own shadowy purposes.

Luckily, this plot thread is a lot of fun, if not hugely ground-breaking, with a solid antagonistic dynamic between the team members, and substantial supporting roles from other familiar faces from the original book, one of whom was actually my favourite character in it.

And alongside the mythology-infused intrigue around the titular character, and the insult trading of the super-powered commando team, Ewington’s script serves up some lovely moments for the artist, Cosmo White, to draw.

White’s art is interesting and dynamic, with a familiar but gorgeous manga-inspired look injecting life into interesting looking characters and vibrant settings, and he handles the quieter story points well, but the epic action sequences better. My one real gripe with the book is that unfortunately his line and clarity is often sabotaged by colouring that seems watery and faded, and flattens the pages out so that the dramatic composition loses a lot of it’s punch. They remind me of the Dreamwave books of the 90s, and those were hugely popular, but I never really warmed to the look.

But minor niggles aside, this is a pretty cool book, with Ewington transitioning well from the reflective prose of “45″ to the more dynamic action milieu, and an intriguing new super-world opening out a little further for the reader. A little more of Blue Spear himself wouldn’t have hurt, but it’s hard to complain too much about that when the story he made room for was a fun read.

Blue Spear lands in comic shops toward the end of July, and though it’s 60 pages, the $11.99 (£6.99) price point means you’ll probably want to check it out on the shelf before you make a decision, but if you’re looking for something super-powered but off the beaten path, you should definitely keep an eye out for it. This universe is easily rich enough to become part of the mainstream.