The second issue of CLiNT, Mark Millar and Titan Magazines' British news stand anthology, mixing comics with a range of features that include a focus on 'real-life superheroes' and an interview with Charlie Brooker, is a much-improved mix on the launch issue.
Maintaining an edgy, Nuts/Zoo style feel to the format, which rankles with some comics fans but should appeal to the magazine's teen target audience, strip-wise, this issue continues Kick Ass 2 and delivers more chapters of Jonathan Ross' Turf, Frankie Boyle's bonkers Rex Royd, Nemesis and a fun three-page 'Space Oddity'. Pit Stop by Mateus Santolouco is one of many great pitches to the mag made via the MillarWorld forum and a good choice.
Also this issue -- the first slice of Mark Millar's American Jesus, already published in the US but which I gather is part of a trilogy of planned stories being released by Image in the US.
Of these, despite the vicious content, Nemesis proves the surprise hit of the issue for me, with a brilliant chase scene and some truly nasty developments as the super villain storms the Pentagon. Steve McNiven's art is superb throughout.
Turf again benefits from the larger page size of CLiNT and writer Ross begins to rein in his verbosity to let the Tommy Lee Edwards gorgeous art on this 1920s vampire tale do the storytelling.
There were mixed reviews of Frankie Boyle's Rex Royd - and I'm afraid the writing is again disappointing and the content of this tale the most potentially offensive to the kind of religious types, that frankly, Frank, you really don't want to upset. The titular 'hero'(?) continues his crusade against superheroes and super beings, this time taking down God in the Garden of Eden after God performs a pretty monstrous act on Eve.
It's all very shocking and will no doubt have Daily Mail readers up in arms, but at the end of the day, how many of CLiNT's target audience even know who God is and will really take in the import of such a ridiculous storyline?
American Jesus, with terrific art from Peter Gross is definitely intriguing - I'm curious to see how this develops, although I could of course simply pick up the collection.
And then of course there's the 'headline act' - the second part of Kick Ass 2, as Millar and Romita's would-be superhero takes a stroll in Times Square with another costumed hero whose only weapon is a silver-foil covered baseball bat. There's some fun dialogue for comic fans - a teen admitting he fancies Aunt May - and Kick Ass revealing his life's desire is to be part of the Justice League.
But the story also exposes what might be a critical flaw in Millar's masterplan to break comics out of what he sees as something of a ghetto on the news stand - much of the humour is dependent on knowing something about the comics the target audience, allegedly, have never heard of. (Although of course, they may well have heard of their film and cartoon incarnations, to which Millar is careful to refer).
Overall, though, CLiNT #2 is a well rounded and much stronger issue than the launch, and some of the features are hilarious, such as the 'Save Money on your Mobile' spoof ad and the full page iPad gag. The longer features are stronger, too - especially the real superhero feature - and seem a better fit this time around. Yes, you've still got the Zoo-inspired stuff like a 'Sexy Chavs' pin up, which is sure to annoy comic fans but once again, this title is aimed at a teen audience that loves this stuff.
Fingers crossed, they liked the first issue enough to buy this one.
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• Discuss CLINT #2 on the downthetubes forum (membership required)
• Bleeding Cool: CLiNT #2 Numbercrunching