Friday, September 27, 2013

Issue Review: Miss Fury 6

Miss Fury desperately calls out for Captain Chandler on the train platform, but he is not there.  As she looks around for him, she spots Schauburger, the time-traveling Nazi from issues 1-5.  She realizes that she has come back to a timeline different from the one she remembers.  The military police on the train platform try to capture her, but she dodges past an oncoming train.  She tries looking for Chandler at his apartment, but there is no evidence that he ever lived there. She heads back to her own place, but then she sees another version of herself, already there wearing an evening gown.  The two Marlas lock eyes and the other timeline's Marla toasts herself.  The Miss Fury whose exploits we've been following decides to get help from a rich young man who has a crush on her. He calls in favors in Washington and discovers that Chandler went AWOL 13 months ago -- which means he does exist.  Miss Fury heads to a rooftop to try and figure out what is going on, and concludes that Schauburger somehow plucked Chandler from the time stream.  She concentrates, and starts seeing visions of other times all in the same place.  She enters a building that seems to be shifting in time, and after fighting midieval knights, she comes face to face with Schauburger. But she can't hurt him, because he's already dead, and he says that he needs her help again.  Hermann has not really been stopped, and Chandler is Schauburger's way of guaranteeing Miss Fury's cooperation.

This is an interesting story that has a few confusing elements.  As usual, Rob Williams handles the time travel fairly well, which is no easy task given all the timeline shifting that is going on here.  Miss Fury's pain on the train platform as she searches for her lost love is depicted well, as is her grim determination to find out the truth, especially after she sees Schauburger standing nearby.  However, the artwork does not make clear exactly how she escapes form the military police.  A steam locomotive is shown barreling down the tracks, and Miss Fury jumps in front of it, to shouts of "It's a suicide!" In the next panel, Miss Fury seems to be standing still as the train roars by, although she also is drawn in front of the engine. Two panels later, the engine is stopped next to the platform and Miss Fury seems to be jumping off of it onto the other side of the platform from where she started.  I confess, I am not sure what these scenes are meant to convey.  I'm guessing the engine was coming to a stop as it neared the station, and Miss Fury pretended to jump in front of it to shake off her pursuit, and then after it stopped she jumped down. But these events are not shown clealry enough that I can be sure.  This seems to be more of a problem from the art end than from the scripting side.

On the other hand, the scene where Miss Fury spies herself in her apartment high over Manhattan, and the other Marla turns and toasts herself with a smug grin, is excellent.  The expressions are extremely well done, and I love the way the lighting behind Marla is drawn in those panels.  The narrative is also excellent here, as we get a good sense of Fury's frustration and emotional turmoil.

Later, however, as the story reaches a critical turning point, the art and narrative again fail to convey what is supposed to be happening. Miss Fury states in the narration that "all times exist in the same place." She claims that if you understand this, you can "open doors" at will, and even sense where these doors are.  But what the "doors" are is unclear. Doors between time periods within a universe? Between universes? Both?  As she sits atop a skyscraper, she looks out at the New Yorker building, and in the next panel it becomes a mountain in roughly the size and shape of the building.  This is clearly one of the doors she mentions.  But what does this mean? Is she looking at the Manhattan of a million years ago (or in the future) when geography is different?  In the very next panel, she is depicted running into the upper floor of a building. Which building, is not shown or explained. Is this the New Yorker building? Or a different one?

Next Miss Fury opens a door and medieval knights from the opening scene in the book step out and try to kill her. Who these knights are, or why they would be working for Schauburger (as they seem to be), is not explained.  Also, since later Schauburger clearly indicates he wants Miss Fury to help him, why are these knights trying to kill Miss Fury?  She couldn't help him if she were dead, after all.

The art on this issue is somewhat problematic to review.  Many panels are very well drawn, but a number of them do not show the reader enough information to convey clearly what is going on in the plot.     Additionally, although most of the figures and backgrounds are well drawn, Marcio Abreu is no Jack Herbert.  With Herbert's art, I rarely failed to understand what was physically happening in each panel, whereas Abreu, in far too many panels, I simply don't know what is going on.  Also, Abreu does not have Herbert's skill with drawing action sequences.  He draws Miss Fury in too many "posing for the camera" positions rather than depicting her actually performing the actions.  On the other hand, he does a great job with Marla's face and clothing, and with Miss Fury's facial expressions.  Although he's not as good as Herbert, the art is still better than average in this book.

Overall, this was a pretty good book that could have been fantastic if only the writer and artist had been a little clearer about what is going on.  The art is generally strong, wtih some moderately weak panels here and there, and the story is good, but has a few logic holes in it.  The strongest part of the story is the characterization of Miss Fury.  Williams has definitley made me like this character, and I feel a great deal of empathy for her.  I definitely want Miss Fury to straighten out the timeline and be able to get back to Chandler (although I suspect that this will probably never happen, since we know that in the "correct" timeline of events, Chandler dies).

My score: 8/10

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