Monday, October 15, 2012

Clash Mini-Series Review

DC Comics
Prestige Format Mini-Series
48/ea. = 144 pages (1991)
$4.95/ea. = $14.85 

Published: Clash #1-3 (of 3)

Contributors: Tom Veitch, Adam Kubert, David Hornung, and Todd Klein

Synopsis: Joe McLash (or 'Clash' to his friends) works for his dad smuggling precious artifacts out of foreign countries.  Clash is good at what he does and doesn't give a damn about anyone else.  His latest caper in Afghanistan turns awry with Joe's lover, Helen Rojas, paying the price of Joe's dangerous lifestyle with her own life.  Clash is not a man to pause and reminisce as he heads back to his father in New York to collect a fat paycheck.  He's sick of the old man hoarding ancient knick-knacks and plans to sell them off one day to have a big party.  

The artifact Joe brings back from Afghanistan is an ancient mask which looks familiar to his dad.  Forty years ago the old man and his business partner, Roy Tavish, were trekking across Asia when Roy found the most amazing loot.  He mysteriously disappeared the next night with the location of the discovery, but Joe's dad uses the loot to start his business (and feed a growing Joe).  The mask appears to be from the same place and before you know it the McLashes are headed back to Asia on a treasure hunt.  

They camp with the Turkomen in an ancient region once called Panja.  The chief of the tribe wants to sell the artifacts for guns to fight a neighboring warlord called Mustafi, but most of the villagers hate the McLashes.  In the night an assassin comes to kill them and turns out to be a beautiful woman.  She and Joe fall in love as her knife glistens in the dark opposite his machine pistol.  The next day they discover a massive cavern filled with the remnants of a mighty civilization.

On the lowest level of the buried citadel in a hidden chamber is a strange stone apparatus surrounded by hideous statues.  Joe's dad accidentally triggers the apparatus and is jolted with arcane energies.  He suffers massive burns, but survives and is strangely powerful.  Joe uses it and is filled with power!  He is superstrong and can fly - now he's in control of his life and can do anything he wants.  

Joe doesn't care where the power came from, but the Archons are not happy he has stolen their secrets and refuses to do their bidding.  What really happened to old man McLash's business partner Roy Tavish all those years ago?  Is Joe truly free or will the Archons use his newfound power to pull his strings like a puppet?  How will the world react to a real life superman?

Pros: Very early Adam Kubert art shows a lot of promise despite a few rough edges, cool concept by Veitch with the theme of an alternative 'superman' in the real world

Cons: Joe is an unlikable character (so's his dad), dialogue is stiff and sounds campy, Nadja the assassin taking an interest in Joe is pretty unlikely (some assassin she turns out to be)

Mike Tells It Straight: I liked the concept behind Clash and enjoy Adam Kubert's art (not a huge fan of his brother Andy however).  The story was a cross between Indiana Jones and Superman, but with a violent twist.  I felt Veitch's scripting wasn't great and Joe was an annoying punk given god-like powers with no real purpose to his life.  He was a complete schmuck and it was hard to identify with him.

Almost all of the characters were depthless caricatures with no real personality.  Nadja's character made no sense - she's an assassin one minute and Joe's sex puppet the next.  The Archons and the ancient power-giving machine were the only cool parts to the story.  Overall Clash gives us some frustrated male wish-fulfillment and the outline of a good story, but not enough to be quite memorable.  You can probably find it cheap and don't bet on a collected edition anytime in the future.

TO BUY and Recommendations: