COMIC REVIEW: Lightning Strike Presents

Lightning Strike Presents is a collection of various stories in different genres. From superheroes, to fantasy, to gritty crime to even time travel, Lightning Strike really has a little bit of everything for you.

Like every anthology some stories are better than others. I am not usually a big fan of fantasy but Brian Boru managed to win me over. As a general rule the art in the book is very nice. The brush strokes in Brian Boru are lovely. The two stand out performances come from Robert Carey, and Cormac Hughes. Carey manages to create a beautifully moody noir style in both Canon Law and Reality Watch. It is gritty and draws the reader in. Hughes’ lines in Clockwork Universe are nicely put together.

Not one of the stories is badly paced. They don’t feel padded and the page turns are implemented well. Further many of the panel structures are quirky and make the story more interesting. For example, Company Man and its use of captions as well as applying similar techniques to the ones used by Frank Quietly in We3 to give an impression of three dimensions. Further The Nightmare Scenario manages to create a real feeling of uneasiness while developing this dream like world.

The dialogue is strong in this book. Credit must go to Company Man, Hybrid, Queller, The Nightmare Scenario and A Clockwork Universe. Most of the stories seem to have gone for a snappy, quirky funny dialogue that any geek will understand. The dialogue will at least make you chuckle if not more. Further, The Nightmare Scenario takes a very different approach yet its dialogue is still of a high standard. Writer Stephen Carey creates a twisted, brilliant voice that drags the reader along on this ghoulish ride. Unfortunately there is one slip up in Draculwing where the story is set in a fantasy world yet the dialogue feels too contemporary for my tastes and therefore feels jarring.

It is always nice to see a creator trying new things and allowing their imaginations to run wild and in this anthology we see that happening. In particular in Reality Watch where in a split moment the world changes. This works so well and it is nice to see a creative team take a plunge into the unknown.

The stand out story is Clockwork Universe. Written by Ciaran Marcantonio and drawn by Cormac Hughes the story revolves around a time traveller. With some clever touches through the script such as the various Doctor’s costumes, the TARDIS and the fortress of Solitude adds something extra to the story. It is nice to see these little in jokes for the reader. Further the snappy dialogue and intriguing story left me wanting more. It is a shame we did not get it.

A major criticism of the book is that it does not always make it clear when one story starts and another ends. Some have titles such as Brian Boru but before we get titles again in A Clockwork Universe we have the stories Company Man and Draculwing. This is to say the least a little jarring. When A Clockwork Universe came up I had to go back and check that the three stories were actually three distant separate stories. The average reader should not have to do this. It might seem obvious but as the story go fantasy, superhero and back to fantasy at first glance you start to wonder whether this was all the same story.

The Lightning Strike Presents Anthology is a mixed bag. There are some flashes of brilliance and like all anthologies some stories are better than others. Its biggest weakness is the lack of titles for the second and third stories and the lack of page numbers on the contents page. That said there are some great moments here such as A Clockwork Universe and The Nightmare Scenario.

Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Luke Halsall

%d bloggers like this: