REVIEW: Lightning Strike Presents #1

At Kapow Con in London today (Saturday), the eagerly awaited Lightning Strike Comics anthology went on sale. Below is a review that I wrote of the book that appeared on earlier today.

Lightning Strike Presents #1
Written by: Various
Art by: Various
Published by: Lightning Strike Comics
Cost: €5
REVIEW: Lightning Strike is the new anthology book from Lightning Strike Comics that brings together some of the most talented indie creators from home and abroad. Boasting 10 different strips in 74 pages for just a fiver seemed on the face of it an exceptional deal, but of course the questions is, are the strips themselves any good?
I felt it important that the books editors choose a strong strip to start off the book and use it as a statement of intent and with Brian Ború they do so on several fronts. Not only is the story a hugely enjoyable script from Richmond Clements but the art by Cormac Hughes is very strong, also using a nationalist strip like Brian Ború really sets the stall out and proclaims it ‘Irish’. It was a cunning choice and set a high standard for what was to follow.
Pete Hernandez’ Company Man was a late announcement addition to the book and to this point the strip was only available as a digital book and this title represents the story’s first foray into print. If Brian Ború was a statement of Irishness, then Company Man shifts that perimter several hundred miles West. Brooklyn native Hernandz’ strip is actually an issue highlight, I thought, with a balls to the wall superhero actioner. This strip is actually the first eight pages of issue one of volume two of the series so visit Pete’s site if you want to see what came before.
Third up was Draculwing by Chris Duffy and Shane Roban. This was a darker story about a warrior who battles the Demon Blazebrood who killed his King and his warrior brethren. There was a pretty cool eternal sacrifice at the end of this story I won’t spoil but it will appeal to the medieval swords and sorcery folk out there.
A Clockwork Universe by Ciaran Marcantonio and Cormac Hughes was a time traveling steampunk tale. I could eat these stories up all day, I love them. This strip was beginning to show the diverse nature of the strips involved and with it the knowledge that the book will have something for everyone.
Next up was Ger Hankey’s Hybrid. Readers of Ger’s Short Sharp Shocks anthology book will be already aware of this strips previous adventures and it is awesome to see more of it. The humor that Ger bleeds into his scripts is always finely balanced with the action adventure feel of his stories leaving the reader in no doubt that they are reading a nicely crafted tale as it is here.
I was looking forward to reading Canon Law ever since I saw concept art from Rob Carey. With a story by James Looney and some deft coloring by Company Man’s Pete Hernandez this was probably the pick of the bunch from an all round view. This dark story of murder and revenge leaves you wanting to read so much more from this world.
Liam Browne and Daryl Cox’ Monkey of Oz was next. This strip won an ICN competition to determine which strip would adorn the cover. Telling a take involving a flying monkey in the world of L. Frank Baum’s world of the Wizard of Oz, it was a nice sideways telling from a world where we see the same story get told a million different ways but this was a refreshing new take on has come before from Oz.
With Nightmare Scenario from Kev Weldon and Stephen Carey, I was absolutely creeped out something wicked by the full image on the second page. It is something that was downright creepy, horrific and it resonated what the rest of this story was all about with a nice balance of art of narrative. In all seriousness, it is a skin crawling strip that plays on your base fears as a child and in that sense was a total success.
More Ger Hankey goodness next in the form of Queller. This is billed as Chapter One which makes me happy to think that there is more on the way because this was the perfect tonic after the shaken nerves from the previous strip. Another humorous strip not without its fair dose of damsel in distress danger and Ger’s uniquely kind on the eye style of art.
Whereas Canon Law is the best all round strip in the book Reality Watch wins hands down the best looking strip. Remember that you saw Rob Carey’s name in lights here first because this guy is going places. His style is modern and kinetic and when you put it in the hands of colourist Peter Mason it looks superb. Not to take anything away from the story either which was an intriguing take on a fixer who goes to work when Reality slips up.
This book is the culmination of a massive effort on the part of the producers and as such it is a testament to them to how good it is. The book caters to the tastes of just about everyone and with that quality abound, it may just stand out as the premiere Irish print comic this year. There are plenty of examples in the book of stories that I would love to see more of and the diversity on show should dictate the success of the book. A huge congratulations to all involved.