The Union (2020-) #5 by Paul Grist
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I have it on good authority from people whose opinions I trust that Paul Grist is a good writer. I can only assume that this series is not representative of his talents.
To be fair to him, as I’ve said in reviews of previous issues, this series was originally supposed to be an Empyre tie in, but got delayed due to the pandemic and ended up being a King in Black tie in…sort of. It’s clear that it got heavily rewritten, as evidenced by the cover art generally having nothing to do with the comic inside, and ended up being far from the story that Grist originally intended to tell.
Which is a shame, because there’s a lot of potential here. There are interesting new characters and ideas that never get fully explored, and, in fact, it only felt like the final two issues of this series were part of the story as originally intended…or, at least, to some degree.
The lacklustre art has not helped this series, especially as earlier issues boasted some stunning cover art that the comic inside failed to deliver on. Maybe it’s because I’m British that it irritates me to see a comic set in locations I know well…that the artist clearly hasn’t used enough reference for when drawing. You know, now we have Google street view there really isn’t an excuse for this sort of thing.
There’s also something slightly odd about a comic based on The Union at a time when The Union is literally falling apart. I’d have liked to have seen more of an exploration of that, some kind of acknowledgment of the very real constitutional issues facing the UK right now. Or, at the very least, someone pointing out to Union Jack that he should really be called Union Flag unless he’s on a ship…
I’m all for more British superheroes from Marvel, but not like this.