CLiNT magazine returns, everyone! A quick recap for those in need: CLiNT is an anthology comics magazine created by Mark Millar. It contained stories by Millar, Frankie Boyle, Jonathan Ross and others. Some stories are reprints and others are original work — all of it aimed, in Millar's words, at "16 to 30-year-old-guys" and the newsstand market.
For various and sundry reasons, the magazine has been relaunched in a second volume, containing an interesting mix of interviews and comics. The interviews are interesting, the first being with Millar and director Nacho Vigalondo about the upcoming Supercrooks movie, and then just Millar about how the American Jesus film is coming along.
We also get a short look at Roman Dirge's Lenore, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year; an interview with Frankie Boyle about Rex Royd; a profile of one of the "real life" superheroes who patrols London and named himself "Clint" after the magazine; a profile of action movie Marko Zaror and a letters page. All are short, punchy and magazine standard. But the real reason to get CLiNT is for the comics.
(Mark Milliar/Nacho Vigalondo/Leinil Yu/Gerry Alanguilan)
Take Ocean's 11, mix in a heavy helping of The Ultimates, and a dash of Kick-Ass and you have Supercrooks. Here we get about 20 pages of the first issue of the comic, so if you missed it on the stands, you can get on board here.
The basic setup is your standard heist-movie affair, but with super-illains instead of your ragtag team of con artists. Our lead guy is Johnny Bolt, small-time villain with electric powers, who we're introduced to in the midst of his latest failed robbery. To help out his old mentor, who has managed to get himself in Dutch to a vicious crime circuit to the tune of a hundred million bucks, Johnny decides to "get the old gang back together" and pull off a new heist. The twist being that he wants to pull this job in Europe, where there supposedly aren't as many superheroes as in America. Easy-peasy, right?
The art is smooth, clean and stylish, with some good design work by Leinil Yu. The high point for me being a fight at the beginning in a subway car, even if it does end with an homage to the cover of Kick-Ass.
There are some interesting characters here, though so far most of them are pretty much more archetypes at this point, "Evil Mob Boss," "The Ex-Girlfriend," "Charming Rogue," etc. I'm hoping they flesh out more as the story continues. Especially Johnny, who's only charming in the fact that he outright says "I'm charming" at one point. As for the plot, so far it's a by-the-numbers heist set-up. Nothing we haven't seen before, but it's not bungled either.
Rex Royd: Kid Detective
(Frankie Boyle/Mike Dowling
This may be the most bizarre story in CLiNT, which is saying something in a book that has a Lenore short. Rex Royd is a heroic (sort of) Lex Luthor who was born to defend the Earth against an alien invader named Proteoman, who does not appear in this story.
We start in the middle of a crisis where the world has been trapped in some kind of fake-reality. It's like Plesantville meets The Matrix. As Rex tries to break himself and his team free, former '90s sidekick Kid Detective watches from what seems to be inside and outside this new reality, while he and Rex both comment on modern culture, Spider-Man, and Watchmen. And then it just ends, without any real conclusion having been reached.
The story is weird and the commentary is not very subtle, but the characters are, well, interesting, I'll give you that. There are enough ideas flying around in here to keep things going, but with no real beginning or ending, it leaves me feeling more confused than anything else.
I will be the first to admit that Lenore is a bit of a specialized taste. It's morbid, twisted, full of bizarre ideas and pitch black humor and stars the cutest little crazy dead girl you've ever seen. So it's definitely not for everyone.
For example, in this, well you can't say typical as no Lenore tale is typical, story, we have a floating, talking pork chop that is the harbinger of the Creepig; the harbinger's ex-wife, which happens to be another pork chop; their baby, a tiny diapered pork chop…kind of a veal cutlet, I suppose. These two have a spat right out of an episode of Cops, the ex-wife leaves and the Harbinger falls to the floor. Whereupon Lenore decides to eat it, because, hey, pork chop.
From here the story only gets stranger, even for Lenore standards, with an ending that, well, you should see for yourself.
Roman's art is expressive, like a mix of Dr. Seuss and Edward Gorey. There's a reason his demented creation has lasted this long, and this tale will either delight existing fans, or give you a good idea if you want to try more of her twisted adventures.
The Secret Service
(Mark Millar/Dave Gibbons)
Here we have a reprint of the first issue of Millar & Gibbon's Secret Service, which feels like "James Bond meets Wanted". In our Bond-esque opening, we see the attempted rescue of Mark Hamil (yes, THE Mark Hamil) from a group that has kidnapped a bunch of actors from everything from Star Trek to Doctor Who. If I had my guess, some very rich fanboy is trying to make some kind of ultimate fan film. But that's just a sideline to set the tone of the main st
ory, as the rescue attempt ends in disaster, thanks to budget cuts MI-6 has had to endure.
We then cut to Peckham, South London and meet our protagonist. See if this sounds familiar: Gary is a troubled teen with a bad home life: an abused and alchoholic mom, an abusive and jealous stepfather and an innocent little brother who Gary would like to see not caught in the cycle of growing up in the bad side of town. His friends are a bunch of nice-kid hooligans, and they all end up in trouble after crashing a boosted car.
Lucky for Gary, his uncle Jack is a super-spy. We see him discussing the kidnappings and budget cuts with his boss before he's sucked into the drama of Gary's crash by his sister. It's here that we hit the best part of the story. Millar does a great job with the argument between the three of them about how Jack escaped their life of poverty, while Sharon remains trapped there, and Gary's future. Jack decides to bail Gary out of trouble one last time, then contacts his bosses to get Gary inducted into Spy School.
This is a very up and down story. A good chunk of it is Millar doing a Garth Ennis riff, a Wanted retool, but then you hit the family's argument in the jail and it feels real. One of the best things, most human things Millar's written in ages. It will be interesting to see if he can bring more of this to the story. Art wise, it's Dave Gibbons. The man is a legend for a reason. Beautiful, crisp line work, expressive faces, cool action — the man is just brilliant.
I enjoyed this story a lot, and hope that Millar will be able to keep the human heart he found in this story and not let it get overshadowed by the over-the-top spy spoofing.
(Monty Nero/Mike Dowling)
In our final tale of the magazine, one exclusively distributed in CLiNT, is the story of three very different artists who contract the G+ virus, an STD that gives you superpowers and exceptional creative abilities for six months, then kills you.
Our main characters are Verity Flett, an artist working for a magazine; Weasel, a musician who apparently has taken a large cash advance for six albums from some very ruthless record executives; and a comedian named Monty who seems to be a mix of Dane Cook and Mitch Hedburg.
Over the course of the story, we see how each of these three deal with the news of their infected status, Verity telling her boss to stuff it with the language we'd all like to use when we quit a job we hate, Monty milking his status for more fame and self-promotion, and Weasel doing the typical sex, drugs and rock n' roll life. Well, until the thugs from the record company come to collect the money they had advanced him.
We have some interesting characters here, exploring very different reactions to being told that you have six months before dying. We easily sympathize with Verity, Weasel seems like your standard self-destructive musician, and Monty is kind of amusing but is a serious sleazeball. The art reminds me a lot of Michael Gaydos, very rough and textured but not messy. I really like it.
In future issues, I'd like to see more interviews, and more new or exclusive content, but there is some good stuff here. Having four full-size comics, plus extras, makes CLiNT a good deal, provided you haven't picked up the reprinted work already. We're promised a new Hit-Girl story next time, as well as more Supercrooks and Secret Service, which I'm looking forward to.
Gary Mitchel is a writer, geek blogger, gamer, sf/fantasy fan, comics reader, podcaster and International Man of Mystery (who’s too dangerous for the entire country of Canada) currently living near Seattle. He is co-host with Deanna Toxopeus of the RevolutionSF Roundtable, the site's weekly geek culture discussion which was just nominated for a 2012 Parsec Award. He has also appeared on the Shauncastic, Good to be a Geek and Saturday B Movie Reel podcasts. He can be found on the Facebook and followed on the Twitter as @gary_mitchel (and yes, it's his real name).
Additionally, he is a frequent panelist at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, having discussed Sci-Fi TV, zombies, movies, zombies, cartoons, comics and zombies. Some attendees have stated that he is "hilarious," and Gary swears that said people are not related to him.