Staff: Draegon Grey and Alfonso Pinedo
Big build up, big let down.
When the description provided for a comic starts with, “A new black superhero now endowed with special powers…” makes me cringe a little. I know every culture needs heroes they can identify with, but it kind of feels like that when your strongest foot forward is to appeal based on the race of the character… it’s kind of a weak start.
So the art. It’s strong, but not professional grade. It’s close and definitely seeks to be done in that style, but it doesn’t quite hit that level. They use a very bright color scheme and it gives it a bit of a closer. The lettering and onomatopoeia are in top form so nothing to complain about there.
The comic also comes with a little youtube video. It’s mostly done with low resolution stock images and tells about all the awards this comic won and praise it got. I don’t get why they don’t show off the artwork of the comic- it’s fairly good.
So far, so good. If it was all this well put together it would be a solid comic I’d be putting on my “Indy Comics Worth Your Time” list. But then we get to the story and dialogue…
The video claims that this was written by a master storyteller. If that’s the case, we need to reevaluate the metric by which we judge what a “master storyteller” is. The dialogue is filled with sloppy exposition (Unless everyone stands around declaring the start of a new semester out loud). The premise is a bit week. Boy struck by lightning and put into a coma for 15 years. Now he’s up and about (no mention about the detriments of being non-ambulatory for 15 years in the physical or mental realms…). This magical lightning bolt has given him ill-defined lightning powers.
The intro comic gives us a scene set in genetic-town high school (which is actually a college) with every tired trope and stock character in full attendance. By page 5 I could tell who the love interest was the bully who gets beat up in a few pages, and the hero were going to be. Their introduction was about as subtle as a freight train going off the rails.
A comic that takes its time and introduces elements with a careful hand wouldn’t have come across so rushed and messy. Stop me if you’ve heard this one, “jerky bully picks on geeks and hits on female classmate while a shy outsider protagonist looks on”. I don’t feel like Ulysses (the protagonist) is a real person. I feel like he’s an amalgam of tropes the author liked. He doesn’t show anything akin to fear so his inevitable victory is lacking in impact. We don’t get to know who Ulysses is. He’s a blank slate. I’m sure he grows a personality in later comics, but right now all I know about him as a reader is he defends geeks from being beat up and got struck by lightning.
All and all I’m really disappointed in this comic. It was built up as this big, groundbreaking, comic but it was nothing but another genetic superhero comic. Also, this character seems a LOT like Static from the late-great Dwayne McDuffie (except Virgil had some personality). I hope the rest of the series is better than this one because the creative team seems to have a big vision for this character. I’d LOVE to see something more from this team, but I don’t think I was sufficiently impressed with this issue. Don’t take my word for it though. Give it a read. It’s free!