Sabre was an independent comic published by Eclipse Comics in the 80’s. The character was created by Don McGregor and drawn by Paul Gulacy initially. The art in this arc is by Billy Graham. The series was set in a post apocalyptic near future. Sabre is a poetic believer in passion and free will who fights against oppression and for the love of the lovely Melissa Siren. The series is very much Don’s ideas of romance and personal integrity and satire. The comic is full of grand adventure and overly colorful characters.
This issue is the fifth part of a six part story called “An Exploitation or Everything Dear”. Sabre finally makes it home just in time for the birth of his and Melissa’s child if government forces on his tail. There’s chaos as violence erupts between freedom fighters and government troops right as Melissa goes into labor. The main story ends on a cliffhanger as Melissa appears to be giving birth to twins while the main villain draws a bead on Sabre.
The writing is typical Don McGregor. Overwritten and very passionate. The dialogue and the captions are very wordy. Extremely wordy. Wordy wordy. Characters have names like Wilhemina Divine, Joyful Slaughter, Midnight Storm, Summer Ice, Blackstar Blood, and other over the top monikers. Sabre seems to be the continuation of some of the ideas McGregor began in his Killraven series for Marvel Comics. In fact that’s probably the biggest drawback in this comic. This issue should be edge of your seat excitement with the childbirth and all the confrontations, but it drags due to all the speeches and narration pointing out the importance of individual freedom and passion and self determination. Those ideas ARE important, BUT there’s a robot lizard SHOOTING PEOPLE over there!! Let’s get a move on! Also notable, there’s a gay kiss in this issue and it’s not made a big deal of. Risky move for 1983. Billy Graham’s art is interesting here. It’s very fluid and angular and almost underground comix-ish in couple of spots. I prefer the work he did or Marvel in the 70’s, but this works for me as well.
The back-up story about Melissa Siren has lovely art by Kent Williams. The story is a flashback to Melissa’s escape from a government lab. The visuals are dark and moody with nice placements of shadows and very realistic anatomy. The tale is “meh” but the art is top notch. There’s an interesting editorial on the letters page by Don(?) that criticizes Marvel without mentioning them by name. Basically stating that Marvel’s practice of flooding the market with re-prints caused the distributors to cut back 10% across the board. The big publishers could handle this but the independents could be hurt. Only three ads in this comic. Two for other Eclipse comics and one for a Sabre T-Shirt.