In this post, from Aspen Comics: Idolized #2, DC Comics: Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #3, Marvel Comics: Hit Girl #3, and from Vertigo: The New Deadwardians #7. A pair threes, a two and a seven! What do I win?
Idolized #2 by David Schwartz, illustrated by Micah Gunnell, Pasquale Qualano, cover by Humberto Ramos, Rachel Clark
Genre: Fiction, superheroes, action, satire
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Part reality show, part superhero comic book, all superhero reality show comic book! Joule is the winner of the first ever “Superhero Idol” (not to be confused with “America’s Next Got Talent”) and this series follows her rise to the top and the disastrous consequences that occur when she joins New York’s seminal superhero team. Joule has more lofty aims than her famed obsessed competitors, the pint-sized superhero is after revenge against the super-villain, Stasis, who killed her parents. Ah, revenge, the motivating back story of heroes. Random side-hypothetical: Batman goes back in time to kill his own parents so that he becomes Batman. Think about it.
Idolized is incredibly heavy on satire, showing TV producers who care more about ratings than finding the best new superhero for the city. This of course is no different than any other reality show, but with superpowers. Of course this isn’t the only superhero reality gig in town as contestants vie for publicists to snag coveted roles on “The Real Superheroes of Orange County”. Take your idea of reality television and replace anything Jersey with superheroes- i.e. replace orange people with super powered humans- and you have a pretty good idea how this alternate universe works. Complete with evil contestants, even more evil executives, love interests and in house fighting, this is written like the most fantastical reality show imaginable. Bonus: it’s nothing like that awful, “Who Wants to Be a Superhero?”
Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #3 by Len Wein, J. Michael Straczynski, illustrated by Jae Lee, John Higgins, cover by Jae Lee
Genre: Fiction, superheroes, action, prequel
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Because nothing says Ozymandias like a cover taken over by the Comedian! While not my favorite in the Before Watchmen series (that right is reserved for the reads entirely like guilty pleasure fanfiction Silk Spectre) Ozymandias has the most gorgeous artwork of the entire run, hands down. Jae Lee’s gorgeous spreads look like something you’d find hanging in a gallery, so if the plot doesn’t keep you intrigued- because let’s face it, Ozymandias is a pompous narrator, albeit one slowly turning into a megalomaniac- at least there’s a visual feast for your eyes. Who knew actions scenes could be so beautiful? Feast away!
The plot relies more on action and back story than anything else. What we are reading is meant to be Veidt’s autobiography, and you can definitely hear his dry tone pervading the narrative- especially when his inner monologues rail against “lesser” superheroes for wasting the air with their insipidness. I’m paraphrasing. It’ll definitely be a bestseller, but that doesn’t mean it would be enjoyable to read the blathering of a genius billionaire. He’s anything if lighthearted in the retelling of his tragic past. Can you not be a superhero unless you have a tragic past? Is there some rule that you need a depressing origin story? Can’t you just like dressing up and saving humanity from itself? Thankfully, this is all saved by Veidt’s slow descent into madness. Nothing like a good train wreck to keep you entertained.
Hit-Girl #3 by Mark Millar, illustrated by John Romita, cover by John Romita
Genre: Fiction, superheroes, action, violence
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Everyone’s favorite underage superhero slash trained assassin Hit-Girl can do no wrong in this comic, set between the plot of Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2. If only Mark Millar would write them in a more timely fashion! No judgement. I will however pose a question that has been irking me since I started this series. Specifically, why does everyone look perpetually rumpled? Are there no tight fitting clothing in this world? Does no one know what ironing is? Or steam for that matter? What must artist John Romita look like if this is how he sees the world!?! These are the “important” questions that pervade my mind when I read.
In the comic, Mindy continues her quest to fit in and take out the school’s queen bee, learning about Justin Bieber, The Hunger Games, and having a “strong opinion on Selena Gomez” to do it. When this doesn’t work as expected, Mindy is forced to take Hit-Girl related measures and do to the head mean girl what everyone wishes they could do to a school bully. She and Dave continue to have power struggles, with Mindy wanting to continue with her old ways, and Dave choosing to stop being Kick-Ass so he can focus on healing his broken bones. Lame! So Mandy does whatever any twelve year old girl in her position would do and decides to take on the drug dealers by herself. RUH ROH! Beware: here be cliffhangers. As usual.
New Deadwardians #7 by Dan Abnett, illustrated by I.N.J. Culbard, cover by I.N.J. Culbard
Genre: Fiction, horror, zombies, mystery
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
If you have yet to start reading the punily titled New Deadwardians, get on board now before the series is over! In an alternate history Victorian-era, London is infested with the Restless (zombies) and a new breed of the undead referred to as the Young (vampires) have populated the upper-class. Undead and with golden eyes, they don’t rot like zombies and instead have gained immortality through the Cure. Although this solution is a commodity enjoyed mostly by the aristocracy, it can cure those bitten and once allowed soldiers to fight the zombie scourge without harm. Sadly, it takes away your pleasure for things you once loved and makes all animals hate you. On the plus side, vampire police detectives are a thing.
This issue continues to focus on the investigation into the impossible death of one of the Young. As expected, this case is not going good for our main character Inspector Suttle, who has been stuck in the middle of a bloodthirsty mob only to find himself thrust immediately into a moral and philosophical dilemma. He took the Cure to help his country, but he has lost all sense of himself in the process. He doesn’t know who he is (what he stands for) and he can no longer define himself by his interests because as one of the undead he no longer has interests. On top of all this, the case is spinning out of control. Also, magic is real. For some reason my brain is okay with vampirism being the cure for turning into a zombie but magic is just crazy talk. On the plus side, if the resolution doesn’t make sense, I can blame it on magic. Take that David Blaine!