Review-The Troop by Noel Clarke

In The Troop a team with super powers rises from a nightmare parade of violence, with memorable action sequences and flashes of sexual activity along the way.

Author Noel Clarke was part of the the main cast of Doctor Who’s 2005 return to television. Since then he’s written an episode of Torchwood and a couple of independent films, all of which show his knack for dark material. He told the Hollywood Reporter that he wanted to push boundaries with this comic. Where he does that is in his depiction of real life abusive human behaviour, which exists in the backgrounds that these super-humans come from. The Troop are not so much a fearless team of super heroes as a damaged pile of kids united by a shady character who comes off as a bit of a creep.

We’re in an early period for digital comics as they differentiate themselves from the heavy lines and solid fills of the past. In this book, artist Joseph Cassara paints with loads of photographic colour and texture. In one panel he simulates shallow depth-of-field, where the background has those discs you get from expensive cameras when points of light in the background are blurred.

It can be a little noisy but structure does win out over chaos, particularly in the action sequences. Movement in illustration is tied to the way shapes strike across the page and Cassara works this well. In a rainy forest chase he does this by putting his virtual camera high in the trees and in another, he grabs a snapshot from a flying belt’s hang time before a dangerous dad brings it down.

Issue 1 of The Troop is a bit of a contest between abuse violence and revenge violence but Noel Clarke is setting up something that is intentionally not shiny. This is a tale where everything soft is burnt away – that can lend the truly poignant bits great impact later on. Now it’s up to Clarke and Cassara to deliver on the promise shown so far.

Listen to our interview with Noel Clarke here.

Artwork preview:


Issue #1 is out 9th December 2015


Fast Girls is an Olympics cash-in, that wasn’t allowed to be an Olympics cash-in. They were banned from using the words “Olympics” “London” and “2012”, so instead the girls in question are training to compete in the fictional 2011 World Championships.

Fast Girls is co-written by Noel Clarke, who stars as the girls coach and directed by newcomer Regan Hall.
The film is billed as a comedy/drama, however, it is not quite funny enough to be a comedy or dramatic enough for the drama genre.

It stars Lenora Crichlow (Being Human) as Shania, a talented sprinter from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ who is approached by relay coach, Tommy (Clarke) to join the team. Unsurprisingly, she’s not a team player.

It was great and refreshing to see a British production with strong female leads. Fast Girls opens well but soon descends into a cliché ridden film. The romance between Shania and Carl never quite feels real and the movie quickly falls back on the staples we’ve seen so many times, in so many films. Noel Clarke puts in a rather bland performance, almost as if he wasn’t meant to play Tommy and the original actor cast didn’t turn up. Phil Davis has little more than a cameo, as Shania’s original coach and that is quite frankly a complete waste of his talent. At times the film does engage the audience, but you may have drifted off by the time you get to the predictable “feel good” climax.

    • Behind the Scenes: Cast Training/ Costume Design/ The Relay/ Fast Girl Championship/ Night Shoot.
    • Interviews: Lenora Chrichlow/ Lily Jame/ Noel Clarke/ Bradley James/ Regan Hall/ Rupert Graves/ Lorraine Burroughs/ Lashana Lynch/ Dominique Tipper/ Damian Jones/ Ben Rimmer/ Shani Anderson/ Jeanette Kwakye.
    • Trailer

Storage 24 MCM panel

Noel Clarke and director Johannes Roberts visited the MCM Expo last month to promote the sci-fi action flick Storage 24 which opens tonight. After the trailer played they answered questions before running a preview clip from the midst of the action.

Unable to find a deal (or a role) that played to his strengths, Clarke wrote and produced the picture in addition to playing the lead. As Clarke describes, this brought restrictions associated with any independent British film:

“What happened with this film, halfway through (this won’t give it away) we wanted some sort of SWAT team thing at the end and we couldn’t afford the sixty or so people that I wanted. They came to us and were like, ‘you can have eight in the SWAT team.’ Fuckin’ eight! Motherfuckin’ eight! That’s not a SWAT team, that’s a group of guys comin’ out of a minivan!

“So I said, what if we scrap that? I said to Johannes, what if we do THIS thing? And I told him this really cool ending. And he said ‘aw, dude that’s so cool, do that.’

Fleeing something monstrous through corridors is a familiar enough idea and the corridors of a self-storage facility are an even more common image (I’ve moved house 3 times in the past 4 years). But the menace of Storage 24 does have a difference – one worth checking out on the big screen if the preview clip was any indication.

Storage 24 opens tonight