Super

Super

Staff: Joshua Crowther, Bruno Chiroleu, Matteo Baldrighi, Chas Pangburn, Steven Forbes

Overview:

A complex comic with good art.

Review:

So armed only with a blurb (“What happens when a superhero tries to solve a real world crisis? With no super villains is the world already saved?”) I am going to jump into “Super”. I gotta say, I am concerned with a name like “Super” and that premise it is going to fall into that trap of doing the same kind “generic” superhero comic I end up reviewing a lot. However, I hope it will blow my mind and not fall into those traps.

So, out of the gate Super has beautiful artwork. Full color, beautiful use of perspective and gradient, and lettering that it top notch. A lot of comics can be done in color or in black and white with little difference to the overall quality. However, Super goes the extra mile and really utilizes color to it’s fullest. For example, there is a panel where a man is lit on fire and while he is drawn with lights and darks (and color) the fire itself has a different color stroke and the whole scene’s color pallet is select to illustrate the scene. Beautiful! Just beautiful. A super minor (very technical) gripe is that there are a few panels where the artwork crossed into the bleed a bit (example: Page 14).

While we are on the visuals, the lettering deserves a special kind of thumbs up. The dialogue boxes help inform the reader of the style of communication and visually communicate it well (the shape/style of radio communication is visually represented by a special kind of dialogue box for example). However, there are a few missteps. Sometimes the arrangement of the dialogue boxes are done in such a way that you don’t know which comes first and which comes next. You can normally figure it out, but it’s a pain on occasion that  requires a few re-reads. Let’s be clear however, the lettering is solid and that’s just a drop in the bucket.

Some of the dialogue is well written but other times it feels like it’s just forcing itself to sound contemporary and relevant- a rehash of the common sentiments of most Americans of the younger generation. While I applaud the topic of the discussions, I don’t know if it was particularly well written. There are some pastiches of relevant themes that might as well have just been called out by name. To be honest? I got really boring. Like if this was new information or a unique situation informing the reader of some setting-specific information it would have been interesting. However, if I had wanted a recap of the Iraq war I could have just read Wikipedia. The comic also bounces around chronologically a lot and it’s a little hard to follow, but I get why they do it.

Now on the story. It’s very concerned with being topical and relevant. I can’t really decide if I hate it or love it and as a reviewer- I don’t know if that’s a good thing. On one hand it’s got a LOT of potential and the main character has a lot of room he can grow into. I get the feeling that this is not one of those series that shows its colors in the first issue and I am going to have to hold judgement on it as a whole until it has done it’s full run. Make no mistake- if pulled off right this is going to be a hell of a good comic. However, as a self-contained first issue I am going to strongly recommend it. If not for the art, for the potentially great story that seems to be coming. My concerns over it being a “generic” superhero comic were allayed. It uses it more as a way to question the relationship between the relationship of moral responsibility and power (both on a geo-political and personal scale). The faults are that it’s depressing and preachy. If it keeps this up- I it’s going to get really old really fast. If we have some sort of apotheosis sometimes soon (or at least a glance at what that could entail) it could really save the series from it’s own potential downfall.

So yeah, overall- I recommend it. It’s a complex look into some geo-political stuff and if that is your bag give it a read. If not, it is probably not for you.

 

Metrics

Art: 9/10 (Better than the big boys)

Lettering: 7/10 (Solidly above average)

Plot: 5/10 (Has potential to be really good or really bad.)

Novelty: 6/10 (I don’t know if it’s new, but it’s at least not derivative)

Overall: 6.75/10

Link to Kickstarter for Issue #2

Cluster@#k

Cluster@#k

Staff: Jon Parrish, Diego Toro, Kote Carvajal, Nic J Shaw, Steven Forbes

Overview:

A fun little paranormal detective piece

Review:

Alright so we are jumping into Cluster@#k. No I didn’t censor that. It is legitimately the title (and I can dig it). I know I just did another Alterna comic (Billy the Pyro) but it is a different team and that’s really why I don’t do the same publisher twice.

So onto art. It’s a full cover with a more modern artstyle. There are some manga influences but only about as much as would be present in a lot of modern American comics. Cover is dynamic and exciting showing exactly what is going to be in the book. The characters are visually distinct, their design reflects their personality, and are (at the very least) well drawn. Anatomy remains consistent from page to page, proportions are not all wonky, and the artist has a good grasp on the utilization of angles. Seriously- the tell-tale sign of a good artist is a mastery of anatomy, facial expressions, dynamic poses, and the use of a variety of angels (love the low angle ones).

There is not much to say about the lettering. It’s solid and I can read it- exactly how it should be. They have some nice use of off-panel dialogue boxes and only on a few occasions was I confused about who was saying what (they were easy to figure out).

Plot-wise we are just kind of dropped in in media res style. We get bits and pieces as we go and I can’t really decide if it was done really well or just kind of bumbled into being cohesive. That being said, we get a few panels of pure exposition but you kind of have to in a first issue so I’m not docking it any points for that. About a quarter of the way in, it just kind of jumps off the deep end though. It goes from kind of standard adventurer/private eye/pulp fare to a more fantasy thing. Talking hobo-murdering goats, demon fusing guys, genetic abominations, and a bit of DBZ style combat. I… am not really sure how to react. It just kind of comes out of left field. Like WHAM and I don’t know that when the stars stopped floating around my head I was really ok with it. A clusterfuck indeed.

It sets you up one way then kinda does a switch-a-roo on you. After a few more pages it kind of works into a new groove and I didn’t hate the new direction. It turns out this is kind of a paranormal investigator piece with a government agency involved. The dialogue is well written, the character’s personalities inform their language and word choice, and it’s overall pretty enjoyable. I didn’t notice any major or minor errors in spelling or grammar so that’s a plus.

Overall, I’m actually fond of this one. While it doesn’t break any super new ground, it does so in a fun little way. I can see some fun plot potential down the road and the dialogue kept me reading while the art sold me initially. You could do worse with a paranormal detective story. Give it a read.

Metrics

Art: 6/10 (Solid)

Lettering: 5/10 (Does what it should well.)

Plot: 6/10 (Not bad. Liked the dialogue.)

Novelty: 3/10 (Not a super new premise)

Overall: 5/10

Link to Shop