“A young man with superpowers in a world without super villains.” is part of the line that Jay Crow Comics opened their latest Kickstarter campaign, for their flagship title ‘Super’.
Sounds intriguing, but what is it about?
Quite simply Super is a comic about a young man (Mark) who suddenly develops superhuman abilities in an ordinary world.
Mark finds that he can fly, possesses super human strength and is invincible.
If that sounds like a familiar story line, then you’d be partially right.
The powers are a fairly recurring theme in comics, but it’s how writer Joshua Crowther shapes the story after that where Super really takes off.
Instead of inventing super villains, heavily armed secret organizations, genius sociopathic scientists or alien invaders for Mark to fight, Crowther gives him a far more daunting foe – his own conscience.
Mark is an ordinary person who is not unlike many of us; he has his strengths and weaknesses, his own personal quirks and flaws and now – super powers.
So what is he to do with these powers?
As Mark wrestles with this thought a crisis erupts in the Middle East and Mark makes his decision on what to do with his new found powers.
And with that not only does Crowther step away from the standard super hero story, but he also chooses to tie his story in with the current events of the world.
Often when entertainment chooses to base a story in the trouble ridden Middle East, it does so in a very black and white fashion.
Bad guys with rocket launchers cause problems and heroes go in to deal with them.
But what about the people who live in these regions?
Entertainment venues tend to forget that while there is an element that needs to be dealt with in these situations, there is a still the bulk of the populace trying to go about their lives as these events unfold.
Rather than ignore this aspect, Crowther wove it into his story.
He also touched upon the political ‘behind the scenes’ activity of the nations watching the events unfold, weaving this into the story. But most importantly – he wove all of these elements together into a smooth flowing story that is not dull, cheesy nor preachy. In fact these elements give the story a very realistic feel.
So why go on so much about the story before touching on the other elements of the book?
Simply because: good artwork cannot save a bad story.
The path Crowther chose to direct his story could have unraveled quite easily had he fallen into clichés, or lost balance. Not only did he spin a solid story and avoid clichés, he also rounded his end of the work out with solid believable dialogue and then turned his story over to an equally talented team.
Artist Bruno Chiroleu, colorist Matteo Baldrighi and letterer Chas Pangburn delivered their end of the work as solidly as Crowther wove his story.
This team works very well together; delivering a solid, smooth flowing book that will have you looking for the next part as you finish the part you are reading
And that is the greatest strength of Super, all it’s elements work together so well it keeps you engaged as it moves along.
John Goodale is the author of ‘Johnny Gora’ (available through Amazon.com), and a number of articles here on TMRZoo.com. His monthly column ‘Indy Comics Spotlight’ appears here and through his blog Indy Comics Spotlight