Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Is that them?"
"It's not. WAIT..."
"It IS! Do you see him?"
"Praise the Oversight!"
Ahhh... do you love Rollerball with James Caan? If you do, then this is for you without any doubt whatsoever. Here's the Corporations' infomercial to educate you further... Just imagine a little Toccata and Fugue in D minor playing away merrily on a pipe organ in the background whilst you allow yourself to be indoctrinated...
"War has become a spectator sport. Privately funded armies of superstar soldiers march into battle for fame, profit, and the glory of their sponsor nations. When a new generation of soldiers arrive, top gladiator Satta Flynn is about to discover how fleeting the limelight can be. From writer Ivan Brandon (BLACK CLOUD, DRIFTER) and superstar artist Esad Ribic (SECRET WARS, UNCANNY X-FORCE) in his creator-owned Image debut, with painted colour by Nic Klein and designs by Tom Muller, VS delivers spectacular action, darkly humorous satire and explores our hunger for fame and our penchant for self-destruction."
And also how our future will be shaped by those in charge of our entertainment...
This is indeed a gloriously brutal glimpse of a world where our apparent innate need for combative sport, and therefore of course visceral violence, is being sated by sponsored lunatics attempting to blast each other to smithereens and saturated with corporate logos and blipverts for all manner of inane must-have products. War ain't cheap, you know. It's like Robot Wars made real, except played out on an actual battlefield with human combatants. Though without Craig Charles prattling hyperbolically away on commentary duties. So not all negative, then...
Behind the scenes there's a lot more going on, of course, as the powers that be plot the storylines and trajectories of the militias and characters to maximise their ratings and keep the masses so emotionally engaged that it leaves no time for individual thought never mind serious social or political discourse, let alone dissent.
Ivan VIKING Brandon crafts a bleakly dystopian yet vibrantly alive world here which is portrayed beautifully by Esad THOR Ribic and coloured equally perfectly by Nic Klein. I first seriously clocked onto Ribic's work during on Rick Remender's brilliant UNCANNY X-FORCE run which felt, and looked, much more like sci-fi than superheroes.
So... the greatest and most celebrated gladiator of them is all is Satta Flynn, but no one can stay on top forever... particularly when it's been decided that your demise might make a compelling story arc. But don't count Flynn out just yet, particularly when he has the love of his adoring public on his side to sway the producers and controllers. We all love a good comeback story! Let me complete the excerpt I started above...
"The people asked you to stand for them. You have to go out there and STAND."
"Make some noise for HISTORY!
"New sponsors! Top secret gear head to toe! Satta Flynn has had a wartime makeover!
"What's OLD is NEW again!"
Yeah, but Satta Flynn is finally starting to wise up to the bigger game at play. So it's a real shame his comeback is intended to be a very short one...