By: Kieron Gillen (writer), Caanan White (pencils), Keith Williams (inks), Digikore Studios (colors) and Kurt Hathaway (letters)
The Story: Nazi Germany develops super-soldiers in the final days of World War II.
A few things: 1). More alt-WWII than alt-superhero – The best thing about Uber was something very subtle. Comics already has a LOT of alternate versions of superheroes: “What if the Nazis developed Captain America?” or “What if Superman landed in the Soviet Union?” and that’s before you get to all the stories like, “What if Wolverine turned evil?” or “What if Lex Luthor became a hero?” It isn’t that those sorts of stories are terrible, but we’ve seen lots and lots and lots of them. Uber treats the superhuman as more of a weapons system than a human. The superhumans in Uber almost aren’t even characters. They’re more like tanks or airplanes. So, this issue FEELS a lot more like one of those alt-WWII stories where we ask, “What if the Nazis had developed nuclear weapons?” Once you put that spin on things, the comic becomes more interesting. We don’t have a lot of war comics anymore and I appreciate this addition just for the sake of variety.
2). Interesting timing. – The setting is pretty interesting too and opens up some interesting storytelling possibilities. In Uber #0 we see a Germany is is all but defeated when they unleash the ubermensch. You kinda wonder what will happen if these powerful individuals do change the outcome of the WWII. The Germany we see here is already destroyed. Even with such a powerful weapon, Germany can’t really “win” anymore; I can’t imagine the ubermensch will lead to a new German Empire. Will the ubermensch be used to save Germany from surrendering? Will they be used to retaliate against the Allies?
3). No Americans. – Part of what eliminated that alt-Captain America feel from Uber is that we don’t see any Americans in this #0 issue. This issue is all about the Germans and the Russians. So, when the ubermensch roll into action, it doesn’t feel as much like, “Oh no! The bad guys are winning now!” because it’s really just one set of bad guys (Nazis) beating on another set of bad guys (the army of Stalin). This issue would have had a totally different feel if the ubermensch were pulling the arms and legs off of Audie Murphy.
4). Beefy – Often #0 issues are kinda skimpy, but Uber #0 checks in at 44 pages! Wow. It makes me wonder why they elected to call this a #0 issue and just #1, but whatever. Avatar also does a nice job with their physical comics. The covers are printed on heavier stock than that “self cover” garbage that Marvel uses and the interior paper is heavier stock too. The issue weighs about 3X as much as a normal comic. I’m mostly a digital reader these days, but I do still appreciate a paper comic where the publisher uses decent materials.
5). Challenging art. -The weak link for this issue is the art. It isn’t “bad” or “horrid” by any stretch, but the story is solid enough that it would have benefited from something better. Avatar comics often have a dark and muddy look to them, but that’s just their style. The more tangible problem was that I couldn’t really tell many of the characters apart. Much of the issue was spent thinking, “Who are these guys?” There are a few big splash pages with all kinds of insane detail, but it honestly struck me as more detail for the sake of detail rather than anything that elevated the issue.
Conclusion: An interesting twist on the bad guys having superhumans during WWII. The art isn’t terrible, but it is confusing enough that it holds the issue back in some places. Worth checking out if you want variety in your comic reading.
– Dean Stell