Reviewer: Tim Byrne
Story Title: The Last of Lancelot
Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Simone Bianchi
Colored by: Nathan Eyring
Lettered by: Rob Leigh
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Publisher: DC Comics
That’s my first reaction upon racing through Seven Soldiers #0 last week, and now Shining Knight #1.
There are many in today’s comic-book reading community who feel slighted by the slow plot movement in many titles being published in modern times. Despair has been rampant over titles that are finished in a few minutes, after being over-loaded with reaction shots and full-page spreads.
Well, despair no longer, because in just two issues of the Seven Soldiers event to take place thus far, you have been presented with more plot and mind-shattering events to keep the Bendises of the world busy for the next decade.
Essentially, this issues sees a beleaguered Knights of the Round Table under furious attack from the Sheeda. In a furious mix of fantasy and science fiction, a ripping battle takes place with all the attendant heroism and villainy.
And did I mention this was only the first half-dozen pages or so? The remainder of the issue deals with the quest by one young knight, Justin, to somehow turn the tide of battle by way of his own individual quest to the heart of the enemy’s existence.
Morrison gives his readers great credit here, allowing us to be dropped straight into the action, and to pick up the essential facts while being carried along a path of excitement and wonder. For an example of how NOT to make your readers do all the heavy lifting see the Superman run of one Azzarello, Brian.
After the confrontation in the latter part of this issue, there is a (partly predictable) twist whereby Justin now finds himself in a situation which is awfully familiar to the reader, but certainly not that recognisable to him.
This idea has been used many times before, most similiarly near the beginning of the “Game of You” storyline in Sandman. However, it keeps recurring because of its beauty as a story-telling device.
Most interestingly, Morrison is very much adhering to his promise of being able to make this mini-series interesting and accessible on its own, but also having numerous ties and references to the over-arching story-line which will be continuing through all mini-series in this group.
The art by Bianchi is certainly striking, although certain of the smaller pictures seem sloppy. See for example, the surreal sketch of Galahad in the first few pages. But the double page spreads can certainly be awe-inspiring.