Sunday, 8 September 2013

A ClanDestine Tale Part 1 - What Happened To Vincent?

The summer of 2012 saw Marvel release three annuals, all written and drawn by the wonderful talent that is Alan Davis.

There's been much talk, and speculation over the years concerning Alan Davis' creation Clandestine, and a lot of speculation has been about a member of the Destine family that as of yet hasn't been explored fully, but has been talked about by the family as a dark chapter in the family's past. Vincent is his name, but what actually happened?

So begin's the story of Vincent, the story Alan Davis never got to tell, and it begins with Fantastic Four Annual #33.

Part one of this tale, entitled 'Through A Dark Glass Paradoxically' explores what actually happened to Vincent, and how the family dealt with it, but before I begin I must tell you that this is not a history lesson, retelling what happened, sort of, it's very much in the now, and involves time travel, magic, demons, The Destine Family, Doctor Strange, The Thing, and The Human Torch.

Reed, Sue and the kids are on holiday, leaving The Thing and The Human Torch to look after things in their absence. An alarm goes off in one of Reed's rooms, the two ring a bell, Doctor Strange turns up, the three are transported to England to the site of Vincent's grave, which has been ripped open by some force, and so begins the tale of Vincent.

The three of them end up being sucked away to various points in time, and space, where they each encounter Vincent, at different periods of his life.

Doctor Strange with a Vincent in a dark place...

The Thing with a very young Vincent, travel first to the time of The Roman, followed by a visit to a prehistoric period, after Vincent has regressed The Thing to his original form, and the Human Torch appears in the sixties where Vincent shrinks him to the size of a fairy, seems to be in his early teens...

This whole first instalment of Vincent's story does indeed revolve around Vincent. You do have appearances by the other members of the family, but they pretty much take a back seat until the end of the story.

Even Albert Einstein makes an appearance.

What this issue allows Alan to do is use the Fantastic Four's annual to tell the tale, with The Thing, and The Human Torch as passengers in Vincent's life. Doctor Strange plays a much bigger role in the grand scheme of things, especially with the Destine family's connection to magic.

Vincent is a seriously disturbed young man, a very powerful young man, with connections to a dark realm populated by demons, who seem to be using him, and appear throughout this issue, and at one stage the Human Torch is trapped in this dimension.

Adam is immortal, and pretty much invulnerable, but Vincent is so powerful he can even cause Adam pain. Vincent starts to lose control, which gives the demons an opening to make their move, which leaves Adam Destine no choice, but to end Vincent's life before he endangers all. It's very sad that Adam had to end his own sons life, but it had to be done.


Alan's art is, as you would expect fantastic, and the way he writes this story is full of love for his own creation. What did I learn from this issue that I didn't know already? Vincent is very powerful, and out of control, he has control over time and space, has strong occult abilities, and is unhinged. We now know why Adam had to kill his son, and it was also quite obvious how powerful and old the rest of the family actually are. There's a nice bit at the end of the story where Doctor Strange is talking to Grace, and Albert Destine, who knew the ancient one before he was ancient. Their magic is older and just as powerful as the good Doctor's.

This was a beautiful piece of storytelling, and a beautifully drawn comic. If you loved reading Alan's ClanDestine comics you will love this, in fact you have to read it.

The second part of this story continues in Daredevil Annual #1, and concludes in Wolverine Annual #1. There was a reason for time reversing at the point of Vincent's grave, but that will become clear in the next two issues.

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