ADVANCE REVIEW! Glory #24 will go on sale Wednesday, March 14, 2012.
It starts with a murder — a nasty, violent, blood-spurting murder that leaves no doubt about who is killed and who is the killer. It ends in an eye-popping twist ending that makes you doubt what you think you know about the murder. And in between, it delivers an amazingly odd, off-kilter sort of magic that seems both familiar and odd, like everything we're used to in heroic comics told in unique, surprising and different ways.
I liked Glory #24 even more than the previous issue of the revival, which shocked the hell out of me because I liked the previous issue a lot. But Keatinge and Campbell really move this comic to an even deeper and more interesting level than they did in issue #1, in an issue that reminds us just how strange and interesting a superhero myth can be.
At the center of it all, of course, is the titanic Glory, an enormous and embattled warrior woman who we finally see get up out of her bed and re-emerge into her world. She had been beaten down in a horrific battle and in the previous issue is shown slowly recovering from her battle wounds. In issue #24, Glory begins to rouse herself up and engage Riley, the woman who traveled thousands of miles to meet the warrior woman who had protected her life and haunted her dreams.
The scene where Glory finally meets Riley Barnes for the first time is a wonderfully subtle and interesting use of perspective and detail. In the first panel of the scene we see Glory, all bandaged up, covered with scars, with a bandaged chest wound and hair all the way down to her ankles. We can see how hard it is for Glory to walk, but at the same time we can see the woman's deep and overwhelming power. Despite her injuries, Glory looks, as Campbell draws her, like an incredibly powerful warrior who could destroy any one of us. But Glory also carries a real sadness, a tremendous emotional pain that we can see in the looks on her face and the way that Campbell draws her eyes. It's obvious that Glory's emotional wounds are worse than her physical wounds, and it takes superhuman strength for her to be able to rouse herself from her bed.
In the fourth panel on the first page of the scene, though, we see Glory contrasted with Riley. Riley is as tiny as Glory is huge, and the contrast between the two women is powerfully and simply depicted. But we can also see the power of Riley's hope and excitement as she stands facing the woman that she's pursued halfway around the world. We feel there is a kind of renewal happening as we watch it.
I was struggling to choose what adjective to use for Riley in the three paragraphs above here and I was shocked to realize I couldn't think of the right word to use. Who is this woman and why is she important to Glory? If this story was about magic I might call her Glory's familiar, but that's both too easy and completely wrong. The two women are important to each other, and maybe were important to each other in the past for some reason, but it's another sign of how original and interesting this comic is, that we don't really know how to define the relationship between these two powerful women.
When Glory flies to a special, magical place, we can see Riley's excitement and feel Glory's pain and mounting attempts to rouse herself to get ready to mount the army that she begins to describe. We start to see how Glory and Riley relate to each other, get a feeling for why Glory has protected Riley throughout the younger woman's life, and get a sense of Riley's mix of excitement and fear as she begins to face her fate.
As I mentioned, the issue ends with a plot twist that leaves me breathless for the next issue. What in the world does this twist mean? I can't wait to find out. Especially if you listened to our recent Comics You Can Dance To podcast that featured Joe Keatinge. After last issue's "The Way It Was" and this issue's "The Way It Is", next issues "The Way It Will Be" should be amazing.