With the release of The Weapon, self-published Devon-based artist Matt Buckett sees the culmination of a five-year project to produce this 140-page comic strip, funded via kickstarter. As the title might suggest the story centres around a weapon and the efforts of various forces to either prevent or enable its use. It is aimed at adult (or at least not children) readers, with plenty of violence, blood and a little (gratuitous) nudity.
The actual nature of the weapon is a MacGuffin and the comic strip centres on two characters drawn into a conspiracy. The first is Dr Sam Calder, a scientist who falls under the influence of the mysterious, and aptly named The Driver. Apt as much of the action centres on car chases and escapes from equally mysterious government agents. The second is journalist Jenny Shannon, investigating a conspiracy theory that leads her to the company where Dr Calder works and eventually to a bullet-strewn final encounter as they struggle to save the world.
While very well paced, the story is repetitive (two major car chases take up a lot of panels), and the characters have no discernible back-story or motivations. The style of the artwork is mostly sepia-tinted monochrome, with red saved for the many splashed of blood left behind after the regular shootings. The drawing of people is variable and sometimes verges towards the cartoon. More consistency would have been nice, and Matt is clearly capable of a very effective use of detail and shadow in the large panels zooming in on individuals at key moments.
Overall this is a decent effort and anyone getting funding to produce a coherent piece of such size needs congratulation. On the downside it lacks a centre, and it is only near the end when the writing decides The Driver is probably the centre of the narrative, even if much of the story has been from the point of view of Calder and Shannon. This isn’t something for everyone, but if you are in the mood for a conspiracy based piece of entertainment this might be for you.
If you want to know more, Matt’s website is full of background
THE WEAPON / AUTHOR: MATT BUCKETT / ARTIST: MATT BUCKETT / PUBLISHER: INK POT GRAPHICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW