Monday, October 14, 2013

Review: The Celtic Clan

Today's review is of The Celtic Clan, by Nigel Flood and Frank J. Right.  (On Facebook, they can be found here)

The Celtic Clan, as you might guess, is a superhero team, and they are based in Ireland.  Here's a run of the team's lineup:

Big Fella - Team organizer and leader.  He is the one who gives the assignments to the team so that they know where their help is needed.
Citizen - the field leader of the team when they're out on a mission.  He's a sort of Irish version of Captain America, sporting the colors of the Irish flag on his chest.
Celtic Tiger - a past-his-prime former boxer and MMA fighter with a fighting spirit, but no longer possessing the physique to match.  He's called "Tiger" because he's an anthropomorphic tiger - fur and fangs and claws and all that, so he's still not one to mess with - even past his prime.
The Athlete - a former junkie and now speed-based ("speed" as in "really fast", not the drug!) superhero, who's on the team somewhat reluctantly, but he still does the job.
Legacy - a warrior woman, who wears battle armor and wields a shield and a spear named Gae Bolg that never misses its target when she throws it.
Nymph - She sports fairy wings and has compound "bug" eyes, and is able to fly.
Druid - a druid (of course!) with magic-based abilities, including healing.
Ard Rí - A former king, he's now technically called a bog mummy, and he has the ability to form his body out of the surrounding ground, which is an interesting ability.  Presumably, his strength and stamina varies, based on what materials he used to form his body out of the surrounding area.
St. Patrick - as in, THE St. Patrick, who chased "snakes" out of Ireland some centuries ago (explanation below, so as to not spoil the story).

For this review, I read Celtic Clan #1 and 2.  Before I get into the story itself, it's time for the usual


SPOILERS AHEAD!  If you have not read Celtic Clan #1 and 2, and don't want what's in it spoiled for you, then STOP READING NOW!!  You have been warned!

Like I said, CC is based in Ireland, so there are numerous references to Irish landmarks and culture.  Not a bad thing at all - in fact, it would be an excuse for you all to do some research on Irish culture and lore.  Now, now - no excuses; you have Google and Wikipedia, so don't be a lazy-ass about this! Get some edumacation, dangit!

The story starts out with the CC on the verge of defeat by Ard Rí, who was being mind-controlled at the time.  The Athlete, who is being held aloft by Ard Rí, then recalls how the team formed - which is an interesting time for a flashback!  But hey, this happens all the time in comics.  :-)

For the writer, it's a good method to get his or her readers "up to speed" with the story.  For the hero, it could easily be explained as their life flashing before their eyes.  We then meet the team just as it was being formed, with the Big Fella, Citizen, and the Celtic Tiger.

This is gonna sound funny, but I liked the idea of a character like Celtic Tiger being an out-of-shape hero!  LOL  To me, it shows how some superheroes can't give up the role, even when they're past their prime.  In a sense, it's like when superstar athletes hang on to their cherished sport because they don't want to let go of the fame and the glory.  Think of Michael Jordan, or Brett Favre. 

In Celtic Tiger's case, however, there's still some spark left in that worn and paunchy physique, and the team is willing to give him one more shot at glory.  By the way, I also found it funny that a anthropomorphic character like him has a paunch!  Usually, the physiques of anthropomorphic characters are cut and chiseled, and not paunchy and out of shape, so that was an interesting take on the character, and I thank the creators for the intriguing twist to this type of character.  :-)

The flashback then catches up to where The Athlete is being held aloft by Ard Rí, and his little scheme to bringing the uniquely powered creature down finally comes to play, and Ard Rí is down for the count.  By the way, Ard Rí's power is rather fascinating, being able to form his body out of the surrounding ground.  In #1, he was made up of clods of earth, grass, and tree bark.  In #2, however, he formed himself out of the concrete of the city streets that the team was fighting on at the time.  By this time, Ard Rí was no longer mind-controlled, and was now part of the team. 

I have to wonder how Ard Rí's power works.  I have to guess that he can only form himself from the earth - that is, he couldn't form himself out of water, fire, or air.  Presumably, his consciousness, or "spirit", if you will, is able to move around inside the ground, and he's able to rise up from the ground, forming his new body in the process.  That's certainly a unique and interesting power, and it makes me wonder if we'll see how his powers might be different based on what materials he uses to form his body.   

 Legacy and Nymph were a two-woman team before joining the CC, and I'd like to see more of them and their personalities, and how they'll mesh with a mostly-male team.  I find The Athlete a bit interesting, because he was a junkie before joining the team.  He's also a bit reluctant in playing the role of superhero, but so far, he's done what he's asked to do.  I have to wonder, however, if his doubts get stronger the more he risks death or serious injury.  Or what if he resorts to his former drug habits if the stress of the job starts getting to him, and he feels the need to shoot up to "calm his nerves"?  I can also see him resorting to alcohol as a substitute, since alcohol is both socially acceptable and readily available. As both a comic reviewer AND a comic fan, he's one for me to keep my eye on.  :-)

I would also like to see more on The Citizen and his background.  So much mystery to the man!  Also, apparently he and St Patrick knew each other in the past, and their parting back then wasn't pleasant, because at the end of #2, Citizen leaves the team when he found out St Patrick was joining the team!  Holy cow, what the heck happened back then?

By the way, the "snakes" St Patrick chases away are a race of reptilian people known as the First Race; that is, the first intelligent race on Earth.  Many centuries ago, St Patrick succeeded in stopping the First Race's plans of conquest, and he did it in Ireland - thus spawning the legend of St Patrick chasing snakes from Ireland.  

 The funny thing is, it wasn't so much the stories in CC #1 and 2 that interested me as it was the characters themselves, and their personalities.  Don't get me wrong - the story was fine - but the character interplay was such that I can see all kinds of potential for future storylines.  Good storylines need good characters and good character interplay to make them work, and I already see that forming in just these two issues.

What I'd like to see - no, make that what I'd LOVE to see in future issues - is more background stories, of both the characters, and even the villains.  Hell, even the villains interest me!  LOL  I think more background stories will help develop the main storylines so that there will be even more plots and other plot twists, like Citizen abruptly leaving the team; or the Celtic Tiger having suddenly developed a more powerful and chiseled physique after his battle with a villain named Throwback, but possibly coming at the cost of him becoming more of the beast that he resembles.  Yeah, this is the stuff that comic nerds like me love.  :-D

So now we come to the part of my review in which I ask, "Do I want to know 'what happens next'?"  The answer to that question is my make-or-break of a given comic, for one of the main goals of writing comics is to encourage the readers to keep coming back for more. 

And the answer to that question is: Yes!  I think that the idea of an Irish superhero team is a very intriguing one, and I also think that CC has only begun to tap into the personalities of the characters.  Add to this the rich Irish culture, history, and lore, and we see all kinds of possibilities for stories that comic nerds of any country would love.  So I say, bring it on! 

Because the creators of the CC are part of Creators United, they will now officially grace my sidebar that you see over there waiting to be graced.  :-)   -------------------->

Thanks Nigel and Frank, for bringing us The Celtic Clan! 

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