After a certain point in the first volume, this title’s twists started working against my expectations and I came to enjoy its story of superhuman combatants in WWII. Having got the setup out of the way, writer Kieron Gillen sets about adding further complications for all sides in the war. The volume is effectively split into three parts, with the first taking us into the Pacific theater and witnessing how the Japanese utilize their superhumans to blunt the U.S.’s advance. Things develop into a kind of high-risk stalemate, with the twist at the end being the discovery of this story’s “Steve Rogers,” in theory. Then we head over to the Russian front and witness Stalin’s brutal, but effective, method of creating a hundred superhumans of his own. This includes maimed former sniper Katyusha who does not take well to being asked to give more for her country then she already has. Meanwhile, over in London, development on their own superhumans continues apace, even as the Nazis make a desperate gambit to end the war at the cost of one of their Battleships.
The part I liked most about the first volume is how it presented this new superhuman element in the war to not be an instant win button for any side. Here, we see that it has developed further into its own kind of arms race with each side trying to find new applications for these fighters, ways to refine the process, or methods to catch up after falling behind. WWII has become exponentially bloodier as a result of these beings, and artist Caanan White spares no detail as we see all of the gore on the page. It is an Avatar book after all, and not one for the squeamish. I do wish he was better with the characters as they tend to come off as a little stiff on the page. Also, Gillen’s emphasis on plot and the establishment of this new status quo in the war appears to have come at the expense of characterization. Most of the cast are familiar character types, such as the Japanese soldier driven by honor or the American soldier who hasn’t yet come to grips with war. Only Katyusha and two of the German Battleships, Siegmund and Sieglinde, receive enough development to take them out of their established roles. What I’m saying is that while “Uber” is good and I’d keep reading it for its new take on WWII alone, there’s still room for it to become even better.