Heroes can be found in all shapes and sizes and they aren’t all human. From the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Howard the Duck, anthropomorphic characters are now common place. Now, Andy W. Clift adds his own creation to that stable in Bertie Bear And The Dagger Of A Thousand Souls, which sees his teddy bear hero embarking on a very pulp adventure. But will this comic be a fun read, or is this a character who should have remained in the toy box?
Publisher: Bounce Comics
Writer: Andy W. Clift
Artist: Andy W. Clift (Pencils), Jon Scrivens (Letterer)
Price: £0.69 per issue from ComiXology
Our rating: [star rating=”4″]
Bertie Bear And The Dagger Of A Thousand Souls is a comic where the title says it all as the eponymous hero is recruited by the US government to locate and acquire the titular dagger of a thousand souls before the prince, a powerful criminal in possession of a mystical talisman, does with the help of Bertie’s nemesis, vampire Rose and her cult of Orlock. Therefore, Bertie, accompanied by FBI agent Alice Evergreen, begins a globetrotting adventure of battling vampires and gaining clues to determine the daggers whereabouts, but can they find it before their enemies do and use it to release a dangerous deity on our world?
With this comic, Andy W. Clift has produced a story which feels quintessentially pulpy and really harks back to stories which were popular in the 1930’s. These four issue read like the Phantom film for their adventurousness and give off a vibe of a story spliced from Indiana Jones and James Bond. However, there is more to Bertie Bear than the genre it fits to as the humour feels akin to a deadpool comic, especially with moments of breaking the fourth wall. Then there is the character of Bertie himself, who is so charismatic and grizzled that he reads like Indy trapped in Ted’s body, but more sarcastic, which makes for an enjoyable lead. Of course, all good heroes need an equally compelling foil and Bertie has one in Rose who feels like a subverted type of femme fatale who is every bit as sarcastic as the womanising Bertie, making for an interesting rivalry.
Meanwhile, Clift’s art, while having very rough pencils, feels very in keeping with the pulp vibe of the story, looking very fun and light hearted and in no way dark and gritty despite some of the horror-esque aspects involved. However, despite solid work throughout all the issues, Clift really offers something special with a number of two page, multi panel action sequences. These pages, while having no dialogue, feel incredibly cinematic and are a joy to look at to follow what’s happening from panel to panel. This concept is further enhanced by the inclusion of red into the mainly monochrome visuals which, while occurring frequently within all issues to give a rather Schindler’s List feel, really makes the action sequences pop, most notably during the two page sequence mid way through issue 4.
With Bertie Bear And The Soul Of A Thousand Daggers, Andy W. Clift has given us a book which so unashamedly fun and simple in its concept that it feels so different to anything else on shelves while, at the same time looking like several different things. This is a comic that almost anyone will be enticed to pick up, a decision they will not regret by the time they are finished reading.