COMIC REVIEW: Guts Power Issues 1-3

When you say the word “indie” these days, it often seems that the book, music etc is just an offbeat from someone who has not yet made it into the mainstream. Guts Power by Paul John Milne is exactly the opposite: it reverts back to what indie once was.

The story follows a group of unemployed people who decide to bring forth a revolution. The opening sequence tells us that we are in the future, in 2003. I liked this immediately because it feels like an old B movie, where we assumed that by this time we would have jet packs and hover boards. The art itself is reminiscent of Edinburgh-based Iain Laurie. The characters generally look twisted and demented, more monstrous or alien than anything we expect to see in the world we live in.

There are some nice touches to the design of the book. For example, when a scene ends, Milne writes in a caption box at the bottom of the page “end scene.” It is nice to see the breaking of the fourth wall. Another cool idea is where Milne mocks writers who use dialogue simply to tell the reader what is happening; he refers to this as an “info dump.” Further, the dialogue is strong and has a distinctive Scottish dialect to it. Though this is effective, it is also a poisoned chalice as it means that many people outside of Scotland will not be able to understand the book.

Unfortunately, the story is by far the weakest part of the book. The story is a cynical view of the world and what has happened to it. It says nothing that we haven’t heard before, nor does it do it in a very original way. We hear the same complaints about the benefit system that we have been hearing for a long time. We hear the same issues with finding a job and what life is like in modern Britain, etc.

Guts Power is a mixed bag. The art is out there and different to what many people would expect if they have only read mainstream comics. It stands out as a true indie comic, a throwback from an older time. Even so, though it has some strengths, a good story is crucial. With it feeling typical and going nowhere different, Guts Power lacks direction. But ultimately, if you are interested in seeing what the indie scene used to be like, check this one out.

Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Luke Halsall

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