The first five issues have been a slow build to this – our first actual battle between superhumans. This need to be both the pay off of that implicit promise and our showing how the book works. Everyone has ideas of how a superhero battle will look, and we have to show how ours do.
Have a bit of a grudge against Monty, solely through my granddad who despised him after serving under him. I haven’t submitted to it significantly yet, which surprises me. God knows there’s enough reasons to do that. The Churchill one liner always comes to mind: “In defeat, unbeatable; in victory, unbearable.”
Notice how the composition and colour choices guide the eye. Nice work here from all the art people. The splash of pink ad white the curl of smoke, the light, etc. Yes, it’s a crowd scene, but it calls up the face-in-a-crowd of it.
The crappy uniforms underline how much of a rush this all is. While Sankt’s German forces have time to plan everything and make their choices, the Allies are in so much of a rush they’ve just painted stuff on their helmets. The goggles with have the glass blown out the second the halo effect activates, but it’s still a visual motif.
And Stephanie is back to a full redhead. The size-difference is stressed.
In the script I called this to be one of the propaganda covers, perhaps even actually just lifting it and pasting it in, but that would have been a little too much cognitive dissonance. Klaudia referenced the posters last issue, if you remember.
Yet more of a sign how rushed this is – Colossus chooses his own operational name. I liked playing up the Bletchley park link.
The whole page pushes the sense of doom to all this. Trying to keep the question up in the air while still foreshadowing the way it’s going was the main thought over the last couple of issues.
Stephanie is interesting in this page. The question of how genuine she is at any given moment is always up in the air.
As inappropriate as Patrick’s line is, it still makes me smile.
Third person captions, moving us into the historical mode.
This section involved me drawing big lines on a map of Paris to show the route of the attack force.
Yet more historical mode. Uber walks this line where it’s trying to do a fairly credible, mechanical view of combat. One thing happens, precipitating another. It’s only ever the one-paragraph version of the battle. You can see it when I’m
paraphrasing one of the real battles (like Okinawa next issue) that I’m trying to find a through line. There’s always going to be more stuff implied, but we’re trying to capture a narrative of events.
I think Hitler making the call was a key note. This is exactly what Sankt was talking about before he died.
And our first superhero battle. You may note as the British soldiers arrive, the swearing steps wayyyyy up.
The location is sort of a private reference. When I decided I wanted Notre Dame to be nearby, I realised I could set it at a place of a really quite nice hotel I stayed at for romantic weekend once. My wife and I didn’t have a big fight like this.
A statement of intent. Our first superhuman battle is three men stomping a third to death. The direct (and obvious) influence is post-pub UK street violence. You bring a bunch of British working class guys to fight? I suspect this is how it’s going to go down.
Once again, the Historical-foot-note-caption style returns.
I’ve always loved Notre Dame.
The ellipsis before a line is something I use a lot (and probably over-use). Implied stutter-pause. To state the fucking obvious, comics dialogue is unique to its form.
I’ve actually spent the week writing UBER 8A, which is basically a little of Sieglinde’s backdrop. This was on my mind when writing.
War scenes with our visuals. Trying to build up the sense of intensity to it all.
Fighting near landmarks is an interesting trope. Jamie and I mock it a lot, in the “Establishing Shot On London, Oh, We’re By Big Ben” way, but I felt drawn towards it here. While the first battle is just in a street, if it’s a terror-mission, the landmarks are important. This is a symbolic strike as much as anything, so the symbolic targets are important. Also, in terms of organisation, I thought that if it’s about manoeuvring men in a war-zone to a set position, a landmark is (by definition) a landmark.
And Colossus is just in a Jumpsuit. Someone’s clearly been busy with the sewing machine this morning.
And the first strike. You may see me open up space here. The script for this issue was one of the relative lighter one. It has to breathe a little.
Tension on the page turn?
And a wound, warping the flesh.
What’s happening here is what’s called Fencing in the script. The disruption Halos can block each other, if of equivalent strength. Clearly, that doesn’t work between a Panzermensch and Battleship.
Klaudia is lashing wildly here, it should be noted. Klaudia has relatively little actual combat experience. She’s panicking.
Which continues a bit here, until the end.
Not only do I give space, but I shut the fuck up. This isn’t the sort of book where people talk when they’re fighting.
Not much to say here. Horrible. All of this is horrible. “Losing Limbs” has been such a trope in mainstream superhero comics, but I wanted to see if it could still work.
Yes, it appears that Stephanie’s fears were correct. He wasn’t ready enough.
When approaching this issue, I have Miracleman on my mind – specifically its devastation of London in 15. Moore/Totleben presented an idea of what a superhuman could do if they wanted to if unconnected from morality. It’s about what an imagination can do with that power, and it scares for that reason.
Among many things, Uber is about a failure of imagination. That meant the approach I took throughout was a lot more grounded. People follow orders and kill lots of people.
This is an exception, and an important one. I had a lot of things on my mind, including the surreality of war and what it does to flesh, and trying to find a way to make that breathe. It’s also, in an awful way, the first time Klaudia has displayed any imagination, born of fear and desire for revenge. This is important structurally and thematically.
So yeah, a lot on my mind.
But to be honest? It’s the climax to the first arc, our heroic narrative, and I needed it to be as horrible as I could make it.
As revealed in a few pages, no, he’s not dead.
The key panel here is the second one. Even the Panzermensch are petrified.
And after the climax, we get off the stage, returning to historical mode shaping the rest of the battle. This also includes the problems born of the deployment of the Germans.
And once again, Klaudia almost dies.
And Patrick is finally killed. Could massed Tankmen have done it? Maybe, but they were all in combat and fatigued. That exhausted Panzermensch were a main source of casualties – as seen on the last page – I suspect the Allies trying other solutions is understandable.
Part of me did think about leaving Patrick alive, Metallica’s One/Johnny Got His Gun-style. But it was really just too much. The few hours between Klaudia’ doing that to him and his death was horrible enough for me – and I felt that they’d have found a way to kill him eventually, and following those attempts across multiple issues was a bad use of my time and yours.
Any reading of Churchill as a depressive is controversial. I personally like the reading of Churchill as a Manic/Depressive, and felt it true to the man on my page. It’s the way I’m going. Churchill referring to his darker moods as a Black Dog is famous, however.
Yes, literary fans, the opening of issue 1 and issue 5 mirror one-another.