REVIEW: GLIMMER MAN (1 OF 3)
Review by David Ferguson
Plot: Robert Curley, Darrin O’Toole
Script: Darrin O’Toole
Art: Luca Pizzari
I usually start my reviews with a summary of the story so far but, on this occasion, I feel I need to start with the cover. A good cover is meant to grab you and get you to pick up the book. This is a striking cover that does the job. I love the use of the green, white and gold colour scheme. I particularly enjoyed the mixtures of greens on the figure of The Glimmer Man. If I had the power, I would name it cover of the month ( I don’t have that kind of power but I’ll suggest some kind of ICN cover of the year award and vote early and vote often). As is common with Atomic Diner books, there is an alternate cover. This one is also by Luca Pizzari. It is a photograph of the team of people The Glimmer Man is involved with in Spain (which is a major part of the story). It does a good job of highlighting the historic aspect of the book.
The Glimmer Man first appeared in the League of Volunteers series but, such is the quality of the writing, you do not need to have read those books in order to follow this story. The book does pick up certain threads from previous appearances so there is an added level for those familiar with them. The story covers James Quinn (The Glimmer Man) and, his older brother, Jack and their involvement in the Spanish Civil War. This was a war that saw a lot of outside involvement from famous writers to Nazi Germany so it is not odd that there would be involvement from the Irish government and Irish citizens on both sides. The exact nature of their involvement is not clear. The story also covers their relationship with, former Taoiseach, Eamon De Valera. Each brother has a different view of him. As a student of Irish history, I particularly enjoyed this aspect of the story as De Valera is a devisive figure with historians having differing opinions on the man. I may be projecting my own views on the story but I don’t entirely trust De Valera in this story. We aren’t being told everything and we have to wonder why De Valera has the Quinns in Spain at all. There are also other mysteries but I will let you read the book to find out about those.
This was my first exposure to Luca Pizzari’s art but I was impressed straight away (see my earlier comments on the book’s cover and alternate cover). His version of an earlier Glimmerman does a showing a character that is trying out a costume for the first time (with a rougher mask). I also like his Eamon De Valera. It has the look of the man himself without going overly photorealistic and, I may be projecting again, there is a hint of a man with something to hide behind those glasses (we never see his eyes). His backgrounds are simple but do their job of letting know exactly where the action is taking place as well as setting the mood. I particularly liked how with just the simple use of certain roof tiles he was able to let us know the action had moved to Spain. The use of shadows in certain scenes adds to the feeling of hidden intrigue. He uses clever tricks with page transitions and panel layouts that add to the storytelling.
I think the last panel sums up my view of this book. It is a mixture of mystery and intrigue and is different depending on your knowledge going in and works on both levels. There’s more to come and I look forward to it.