Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The not quite so dynamic duo

Knight and Squire #1 of 6, by Paul Cornell and Jimmy Broxton

I first came across these characters in a Batman comic written by Grant Morrison and drawn by… someone else. In that story, Batman and Robin were going to a meet-up of all the various Batman and Robin analogues from around the world. Their English equivalents were Knight and Squire. So, you get the basic idea here – imagine if you had Batman and Robin style characters, but in a British setting. They reappeared in the genius sequence in Batman & Robin where the dynamic duo popped over to Blighty to take on the Pearly King and Old King Coal.

So, when this title first appeared I shunned it as another of DC's lamer cash-in attempts. But then on the FA website I read a persuasive & favourable review and decided to give this a go. So what do we get here? Well, this issue is only based around the titular characters in the most tenuous of fashions. The story is set in a magic pub where they and various other outlandish villains and heroes are getting together for a pint, the idea being that no one's superpowers work in the pub and a truce reigns that prevents them all laying into each other.

If that were to give you the impression that this not a particularly serious title then you would not be wrong. The strip features a succession of outlandish heroes and villains, with the following serving as a representative sample: Jarvis Poker (the British Joker), the Milkman, the Black and White Minstrels, and the Professional Scotsman. This is not the Batman of The Dark Knight Returns transposed to England – it's more like the 1960s TV series crossbred with British kids comics and the likes of the British Avengers TV series. The art manages to evoke the kind of thing you would get in the better-drawn Tharg's future shocks, a suitably British reference point.

I found the story a bit hard to follow (something that happens a lot to me now that I am old), but this is still all rather entertaining, if a bit slight. I think they maybe need to do more with the Knight character – give us some sense of him being more than just a bland superhero type. But for all that, I am sufficiently intrigued by this to chance a second issue – good job that #2 has already come out and is now available in the shops, eh readers?

An inuit panda production

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