Thursday, October 29, 2009

Phonogram: Rue Britannia

Written by Keron Gillen
Art by Jamie McKelvie

Seeing as I've been enjoying the new Phonogram series (when it comes out), I decided it was time to go back and read the beginning of the title. I remember picking up the first issue on the stands, and enjoying it somewhat, but for whatever reason, I chose not to pursue the title.

Strangely, I think that first issue is the strongest in this trade. Gillen created a wonderful character in David Kohl, yet in the rest of the book, he doesn't use him to his fullest extent.

The series begins with Kohl, a Phonomancer, tasked by his Goddess to figure out what is going on with the dead Britannia, who is the goddess of Britpop, so far as I can tell. From there, Kohl goes on a pretty standard fantasy quest, except that he is journeying through underground clubs and dealing with a lot of scenesterism.

The title never really lives up to its potential. In contrast, the current "Singles Club" series is much stronger, as Gillen and McKelvie focus more on character development. This reads like an attempt to update John Constantine for indie kids, and while that has merits based solely on the strength of the concept, I found it a little facile.

As an indicator of Gillen and McKelvie's strengths though, it does demonstrate that these two up-and-comers have it in them to become stars in the comics field.

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