Review: Legends Parallel




Boobs.

If I had to sum it all up with one word? That word would be: BOOBS.

There sure are lots of them in Bill McCormick's Legends Parallel. Mostly large, exposed and very much front-and-centre, in your face.

Seeing past the huge boobs (which is kind of difficult, but if you can crane your neck a little without falling off your chair...) there is actually a pretty interesting sci-fi story here also.

Tom Hill is a megarich businessman who likes to dress up as "Siafu the Deadly Fire Ant" and fight crime in his spare time.

How very Bruce Wayne, you might be saying, but that's not all... His company employs a team of boffins who not only came up with his power-enhancing suit but have also discovered the existence of parallel worlds. Four of these alternate Earths resemble our own, but history has taken very different turns there.

A crime boss from one of these worlds, the sinister (though well-endowed) Ms Vin, is making forays into our reality in order to forge alliances with various organised crime syndicates. 

You can tell she's one of the bad guys by the fact that she has snakes coming out of her head - (Bit of a give away, huh?)  ... Are the snakes real or cosmetic? It's hard to say, but there is a connection here as she uses a natural rift between dimensions called the "Gorgon Gate".

Tom is not the only costumed vigilante in town, his big-breasted, youthful mother also likes to indulge, as does his amply-proportioned secretary Stacy (who turns out to be a 'meta' (super mutant). When they start to clash with the interdimensional goons much havoc ensues. This causes tremendous headaches for the Chicago cops who start to investigate the bizarre killings, leading them into the city's sleazy underbelly... Cue several visits to strip clubs with naked go-go girls prominently displayed in a variety of poses, as our protagonists try to keep abreast of what's going down...

There is no escaping the sexploiation here (this is billed as "The perfect series for those who think quantum physics isn't sexy, or violent, enough."), and it crosses the line into explicit more than once, so MATURE READERS ONLY!

You have to acknowledge the irony here, however; in this series the sex is more graphic than the violence, which is the exact opposite of what is considered acceptable in the mainstream... Rip someone's face off on a TV show? No problem. Two women in bed together? SHOCK HORROR!

But this is more than a porn comic... On one of the alternate Earths, history took a sharp left compared to the world we know: Africa colonised the world and white people ("honks") are a dispossessed underclass. This version of racism is opposed by Tom's opposite number just as staunchly as its manifestation in this world. It is an exploration of the age-old question: if the oppressed gain the upper hand, will they simply become the new oppressors? 

In Legends Parallel all the good guys just happen to be NOT Caucasian, so we are seeing all of this from a non-white perspective. As science fiction has always done, this looks at a human "what if" scenario and plays out the fascinating - if sometimes uncomfortable - implications, showing us ourselves like the images in a tilted mirror.

Cultural issues are also under the spotlight: on 'Earth 2' polygamy is the norm and monogamy is regarded as a perversion by their version of the moral majority. It "thins the gene pool" so it is only smiled upon for same sex couples... 

On 'Earth 5' the whole planet is a perpetual war zone as over 400 religions vie for power. This does not prevent a woman being ruler of a province (in full-on Dominatrix mode, of course).

Artist Leslie Tejlor blends stylised environments with finely-crafted realism (particularly when it comes to - *ahem!* - human anatomy....) which balances the titillation with some nicely polished designs. The familiar is juxtaposed with the exotic and futuristic as our focus shifts between realities.

This won't be everyone's up of tea, but if you are comfortable with nudity and crudity in a VERY graphic novel, this one does actually offer more than just the salacious. There is much to ponder here in terms of thought-provoking issues of race, sexuality, culture and society's attitudes to history and relationships. 

You want anthropological context and sociological commentary?  This has jugs of it.

But, yeah... BOOBS.


LEGENDS PARALLEL on BillMcSciFi.com

Digital download (PDF)

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Zak Webber


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