I know nothing about Glory. I’m aware that she began as a pastiche of Wonder Woman when Rob Liefield created her as a part of the Extreme Studios comic book line, but beyond that, I’m completely oblivious to any of the character’s history. I’ve never read a Glory comic book, and because I am so ignorant of the character’s world, I would argue that I’m a good barometer for this first issue. Glory #22 was published in 1997, and this relaunch of the series with issue #23 is being released with a thirteen year gap, so it makes sense that writer Joe Keatinge would try to script this comic so that newcomers to Glory’s mythology wouldn’t be bogged down by confusing continuity. I went into this first issue of Glory’s comeback without knowing what to expect, and I thought that the return of the character was an entertaining primer for a superheroine that’s been missing in action for over a decade.
The first two pages do a nice job of introducing Glory and her history. We learn that the character is the product of two separate species that have been in a war for untold eons, and her birth unites these enemy species. This approach of boiling down Glory’s origin to a quick, two page briefing is one that new readers will appreciate, and the idea is simple and iconic enough that you’re quickly brought up to speed on the basic premise of the character. It’s a little unclear exactly what these two alien species are and what they’re physically capable of, but it doesn’t really matter that much: Ross Campbell’s art does a great job of conveying that these are two insanely bad ass warrior empires, and really, that’s all a new reader needs to know to understand that the biological union of these two species must be a pretty tough customer.
The story of the issue is an interesting way to bring back a character that has been out of action for so long. A girl named Riley has had dreams about Glory all of her life, and for her journalism thesis, she decides to find out what has become of her favorite superheroine that has been conspicuously missing for years. Keatinge is reintroducing the character in a fun metafictional way. Glory has not only been absent from our world in the sense that she hasn’t starred in a comic for years; she has also been absent from the fictional world in which she exists. This little metafictional twist is a clever idea that seems appropriate for the relaunch of this series.
There’s a lot of world building in this issue which gives Keatinge a ridiculous amount of room to run with this character. Glory has been alive for hundreds of years, she fought in World War II, and she was raised on an alien world. There are nearly endless stories that could be told with this huge span of time. There’s a panel that gives us a glimpse of these stories by showing little flashbacks in the form of Riley’s persistent dreams, and Keatinge hints at a vast series of adventures that Glory has had and that we may potentially get to see in future issues. Keatinge entices the reader with this world building by giving the sense that Glory has a substantial history and that this issue only scratches the surface.
Ross Campbell’s art depicting the two species in an all art war quickly establishes the action packed tone that can be expected from the series. The title page of the comic depicts Glory punching a Panther tank and ripping the arm off of a Nazi soldier while other Nazis run screaming from her, so right off the bat, Keatinge and Campbell make it clear that this is a comic book series that will be unapologetically filled to the brim with feats of super-powered awesomeness.
Campbell’s portrayal of the titular superheroine Glory is a departure from the way that most superheroines are depicted in comic books. While most superheroines look like thin supermodels, Glory is extremely muscular. It makes a certain amount of sense to show this warrior woman, who is the product of two alien empires that were engaged in perpetual war for eons, with a muscular build, and it seems like Keatinge and Campbell are making something of a statement on the way that women are portrayed in comics.
I went into this comic with no idea of what to expect. I know nothing about Glory, but this relaunch of the character’s series did a good job of introducing the character to me in a way that didn’t feel like cumbersome exposition. The mythology and world of Glory is presented to the reader in a way that is both easy to jump into and makes you want to learn more about her. I would recommend this comic to readers who, like me, are not familiar with Glory, and I’ll definitely be picking up the next issue.