Image Credit: Cutaway Comics (Fair Use)
Image Description: The cover of Eldrad Must Live!
Tides was provided with a free review copy of the comic
By James Ashworth
Following Lytton, Omega and Orcini, the fourth comic from Cutaway’s stable, Eldrad Must Live!, continues to cover new ground for the company. As well as being their first comic to have a title longer than one word, it is a comic unafraid to wear its inspirations on its sleeve – with suggestions of more in that vein to come.
From the cover alone, it’s clear that the creators of Eldrad Must Live! are big fans of Marvel’s output of the 60s and 70s. While the links are more explicitly confirmed in the interviews at the back, the influence that the work of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and others had on this comic is patent. This love letter to the era extends further than just the plot beats, however, with the style of the 70s captured in the work of Stephen B Scott. The bright colours are often dimmed in favour of the muted tones favoured by the decade, with the piercing blue of Eldrad providing a stark contrast from the background.
As demonstrated by The Hand of Fear, the character of Eldrad can have multiple personalities – the morally ambiguous female aspect, and the raging tyrant. This comic adds another form, with elements of both but also with a few new tricks up their sleeve. Bob Baker has delivered a new spin on the character that works well, with the story as a whole continuing directly from the events of the aforementioned serial at Nunton Experimental Complex. The darker side of alien intervention in Who, explored in Virgin Missing Adventures and Past Doctor Adventures, is brought in as a natural development of the story’s ending, giving the story a flavour of the political thriller, of which the 70s produced many classics of the genre.
After Orcini fell somewhat flat, Eldrad Must Live! is a compelling one-shot story that works for audiences of any age, and is an added treat for Marvel Comics’ fans. With the story to be continued in future, and hints that the Cutaway Comics universe might be about to become more interconnected, a follow-up is eagerly anticipated.