|UBER No. 13, April 2014|
One of the publisher’s “favourite characters in the book”, this standalone issue of “Uber” “basically focuses” upon the deeds of former Soviet Sniper and recent gulag escapee ‘Katyusha Maria’ after she is taken in by a pair of elderly Ukrainian Kulaks deported to live in Siberia. As a result this instalment of the “alternate World War Two” series is “not a bad one to dabble in if you want to try” out the title, for although its narrative “touches on the larger thrust” of the Axis and Allies independently developing their own superhuman soldiers in 1945, “you don’t need any more knowledge than the isolated farmers” who house the “errant god” in order to both understand and enjoy the rather fantastical and grisly story.
Certainly as a twenty-two page periodical, which creator Kieron Gillen has acknowledged as an edition he is “actually pretty fond of”, this tale set deep within “the east of the USSR” must have made compelling reading for its 7,653 readers in May 2014, as it both explores the ex-markswoman’s “inexplicable Uber abilities” and just how harshly the Russian Government treated large parts of its population during this period in its history. Indeed the one-time British music journalist’s depiction of the arrogantly brutal Red Army’s response to “Kolkhoz’s messiah” and the subsequent horrifically bloody mutilation of its Manchurian tanks and “big men” at the hands of Maria is extremely well-written; especially as the confrontation is told through the awe-struck terrified eyes of Yuliya and Marat as they huddle together within the darkness of their humble wooden home’s cellar.
Somewhat disappointingly however, the Stafford-born author’s storyline doesn’t quite answer all the questions the sudden appearance of his one-time Prisoner of War creates and most notably completely ignores the fact that previously “The Manic Sniper” had actually lost one of her hands during the Battle of Berlin. Equally as mystifying is Maria’s bizarre transformation of soil into an edible “sweet” mud and just how she discovered her halo effect could make such a miraculous conversion in the first place; “It’s what I’ve been eating out there. Kept alive, just.”
The definite high-point of this comic however has to be the superb, well-detailed artwork of Gabriel Andrade. The Brazilian’s meticulous renderings of the harsh life on a Siberian homestead, coupled with his gobsmackingly gory illustrations of dismemberment and evisceration, really help make Gillen’s wonderfully dramatic script ‘pop’ into animated life, page after gruesome page.
|The variant cover art of "UBER" No. 13 by Gabriel Andrade|