Review: Lightning Strike Issue Eight

Review by David Ferguson

Art by Robert Carey, Jason Muhr and Michael Arbuthnot
Written by Michael Carroll, Markisan Naso, Ciaran Marcantonio, Robert Carey, Darrin O’Toole, Danny McColgan and Ryan Ellsworth
Colours by Triona Farrell, Andrei Tabacaru, Ruth Redmond, Dee Cunniffe, Joe Griffin, Chris O’Halloran
Letters by Mirium Abuin, Jason Muhr, Dee Cunniffe, Kerrie Smith and Ryan Ellsworth
Cover by PJ Holden (art), Robert Carey (inker) and Dee Cunniffe (colours).

Lightning Strike has packed quite a lot into this issue. I, as usual, review story by story. I think you can tell which ones I liked by the amount of time I focused on each one but the two done-in-ones are short as I didn’t really have to comment on where I think the story is going. Also, I don’t like to go into the plot too much as I don’t want to spoil.

The cover absolutely nails the idea behind NECROPHOBIA – ALL CRIED OUT. A cop drama set in a zombie world. It is an interesting mix between PJ Holden’s pencils and Robert Carey’s inks. It is PJ Holden but has a Robert Carey tone to it. Dee Cunniffe’s colours capture the noir tone (which is also used by Triona Farrell in the actual story). The Lightning Strike crew have cleverly utilised a lot of name creators in this issue but we get a mixture of independent creators in here too. It is an interesting balancing act but I think they did it the right way.

NECROPHOBIA – ALL CRIED OUT – When it comes to zombie comics, I’m kinda out at this stage. I used to pick up tpbs of THE WALKING DEAD for a friend who couldn’t get to the shop and I’d read it before he picked it up. That ended around issue 200. I just wasn’t interested anymore. I fell asleep during its pilot episode when it hit the small screen. What Michael Carroll has done is find an idea that has re-sparked my interest not only because of its uniqueness (a tough thing to achieve in comics) but due to the horrific consequences that it entails for the characters in this world. The writing is matched by the art of Robert Carey and Triona Farrell. I was looking forward to seeing how Triona’s colours would look over Robert Carey’s art and I think it works extremely well. Their art, along with “that idea” creates some horrifying creature. It has a cool noir feel that suits the detective aspect of the story. This first part is good set-up for future issues as you find out what this world is all about. Oh “that idea”.

NEVER ALONE – A horror short story. The art kind of stands out as it is quite different to art surrounding it. It has a finer line and the colours are a bit more muted to those in the rest of the book. Interesting story with a twist. Not my cup of tea but I think it was well executed.

RED SANDS – TESTAMENT – The 80s movies set in an apocalyptic future that I most enjoyed weren’t really about an apocalyptic future but about the society we live in. This story, set in the apocalyptic world created by Ciaran Marcantonio and Cormac Hughes, has decided to look at religion. Father Solomon and Sister Abagail are fighting a holy war against the demonic creatures of this world. We see a certain level of zealotry here. I’ll be interested in seeing where this story goes and seeing that it’s Robert Carey and Ciaran Marcantonio on writing, I’m almost certain there’s a Wyatt Family reference in there. I think Robert Carey’s art is subtly different to his first story two as it is shaped to fit the science fiction world. Ruth Redmond’s colours really make the art pop and I like how it stays within the colour palette established in the first RED SANDS story.

KNIGHTS OF OLD – This story really feels like a set up to a series staring a certain Marvel character but with a modern twist (can’t say who – SPOILERS). Darrin O’Toole certainly seems to have done his homework as there is such an authentic feel to the characters and the story. It is a good set-up but I kind of want to read the story that comes after this. With no “End” or “To be continued”, I don’t know if we will be getting more. The interesting thing about this issue is that we get to see Robert Carey’s art in four different worlds and three different colourists. With this story, he is working in a more realistic world. He’s created some characters that look the part. I could tell one of them was a soldier of some sort straight away. With this coming straight after TESTAMENT, the colours (this time by Dee Cunniffe) also help to differentiate between the too. They have a more real world feel.

SPACE BANDITS – A fun science fiction done-in-one about a group of female bandits. It is the kind of story that I would expect to find in 2000AD with its dark humour and science fiction setting (I’d argue that Lightning Strike are well on their way to competing with that title). It is a nice change of pace from the grittier stories in this issue (not criticism of those but it is nice to have a mixture).

NORTH BEND – Robert Carey and Dee Cunniffee join forces again but Dee has used a different tact with the colours. Comparing this to KNIGHTS OF OLD really shows the power of a good colourist. The story (written by Ryan Ellsworth) is a set-up for a longer story (to be Kickstartered it seems). It is a sci-fi/detective story. We get hints to how the main character got in his current situation but I was left with enough questions that I’ll be interested in seeing where this goes.

Lightning Strike issue 8 sold out at ComicCity Fest. We will let you know once the issue becomes available again.