The Union #4 brings a reluctant team back together again when their colleague and friend, Ten Choir, goes missing in Wales. Freed from the limitation the King in Black tie-in forced upon the plot, this is a book that’s beginning to finally find its own voice. Sadly there’s only one more issue to go in this current series. I do hope this isn’t the first and last time we’ll be seeing The Union.
With the ‘King in Black’ intrusion into the first two issues of this British-based superhero series from Marvel Comics now a distant memory, writer Paul Grist is freer to tell the story he wants. In the pages of The Union #4. And that story is the birthing of a new government sanctioned superhero team led by Union Jack.
It’s a series that has grown on me. But the I think I’m literally the only comic book fan who isn’t impressed with Donny Cates’ ‘90s slug-fest currently plaguing most Marvel titles in one way or another. And so, I was more than happy to see the back of this storyline from The Union’s pages.
Grist delivers a solids script with the odd wink to his readers too, with the inclusion of such comedic characters like a cyborg-enhanced corgi dog. One of a band of villains out to steal a very precious treasure from the Keep. An imaginary base that holds the Crown Jewels as well as something else too.
There are more than a few twists and turns thrown into this issue too – as we saw last issue with the revelation that their boss, and government handler, is a supervillain – and I commend Grist in his noble efforts to bring a few more superheroes to this spectred isle of ours. But, lest we forget, we are dealing with a predominately American market and efforts made in the past by Marvel to establish any superhero team that isn’t American let alone one this is British, doesn’t fair too well. I can see why The Union was always going to be a mini-series. It’s just a shame that this story is only now heating up with but one more issue to go.
Over the course of this series, not only has the story grown on me, but Andrea Di Vito’s artwork has too, with inks from Le Beau Underwood. Although as a resident of the United Kingdom myself, it is shocking how little references Di Vito has been given to better render well-known part of England, like Manchester. The image of the UK that comes across in this whole series is one of rural life and not one that I associate with as a city dwelling metropolitan kinda fella. Still, I can be happy its not another series set in London and does try, at least, to represent other parts of Britain, with another trip to Wales in this issue is search of the missing team-mate, The Choir. I enjoyed it when fellow UK writer, Paul Cornell, did it in his own short-lived UK superhero book, Captan Britain and the MI:13, and I’m loving it in this book too.
A book that is only now showing great promise. I just hope it’s enough to have it noticed by other creators who may well return The Union into Marvel comics before they’re forgotten as a failed experiment. Much like some of the more interesting meters of Cornell’s team.
The Union #4 is out now from Marvel Comics