Published on April 20th, 2016 | by JCDoyle0
The Troop #5 Review
Everything must come to an end but the final issue of Noel Clarke’s The Troop is more like a beginning. And after the last four months building the team, The Troop finally go into action as one cohesive unit.
The issue opens with the reveal of the team suits, some of which are better than others. There’s a lot of flesh on show and it looks like half the team are entering a swim suit competition rather than infiltrating a heavily armoured, secret, ocean based installation. But the designs are mostly practical and actual match the characteristics of the wearers; some consideration has definitely gone into the aesthetics of this new superhero team.
Before the action starts a complex and detailed plan is laid out to the team but a revelation about one of the blossoming relationships threatens to drive a wedge through the team. It would appear that Wish, Raymond’s funky new name, hasn’t been sleeping with the sister he thought he was. The ramifications of this affect not only the immediate story line but also raises a number of questions about some of the characters manipulative powers. Both Raymond and Jade have been deceived and violated and Clarke allows this to play out even in the middle of a complex action sequence. He refuses to let such actions go unquestioned or brush the seriousness of the situation under the carpet. Consequences are always a major part of everything Clarke writes and he doesn’t side step them here but allows them to become part of the action.
The storming of the yacht doesn’t go smoothly but the outcome is a victory for The Troop. They faced a team of super-villains and managed to work together to get the job done. They freed the captive children and destroyed the secret instillation but there was a cost; Jade left the team. Basically everything you’d expect from the ending of an arc, you get with the teams infiltration of the villainous boat.
While all of this was going on Edwards was having a meeting with a man named Rogers. This sequence is very revelation heavy. There is an inference that both of these ‘men’ are more than they seem and may be older than mankind itself. They also argue about a prophecy which Edwards seems to be fighting against. As fascinating as these scenes are they ultimately don’t go anywhere and it just adds a mysterious element to the narrative a little too late in the game. Unless of course there will be The Troop volume 2?
This issue is action packed, pretty much everyone gets in on the fighting, but Clarke uses the conflict as a way of expanding the characters beyond what we already know about them. Each of the heroes and even the major villains, get some attention so that by the end the reader has a deeper insight into what makes them tick. Clarke allows a number of story lines to come to a satisfactory conclusion while laying the ground work for possible future stories; for example Jade has all the hallmarks of a nemesis in the making.
The script is as fast paced as the action sequences and the characters, such as Torrent, are perfect superhero archetypes without being tired clichéd. Yes, the characters have flaws and Clarke has deliberately written them that way but no-one is perfect and it makes for an entertaining narrative.
The artwork is likewise not clean and tidy; it’s gritty and messy but in a good way. J.Cassara draws a wonderful heroic pose and highlights personality through a characters stance. He also uses the panels to illustrate and emphasise the deeper inner workings of the cast’s minds. For a large part there is no question as to who the villain is and who the hero is. However nothing is as clear cut as that which is why the combination of script and art creates a duality and mystery that the reader has to unravel.
You would never be able to tell that this is the first comic book outing for Noel Clarke. His writing seems a perfect fit for a modern superhero family; full of conflict and stubbornness but also respect and compassion. The first volume of The Troop is a joy to read and stands out from the majority of superhero comics on the shelves. If you have not bought the monthlies, look out for the inevitable collected edition later in the year.
Title: The Troop
Publisher: Titan Comics
Writer: Noel Clarke
Artist: J. Cassara