Thursday, 19 April 2012

New Beginnings - America’s Got Powers

This week’s new comic is issue one of America’s Got Powers by Bryan Hitch and Jonathan Ross. Yes, that Jonathan Ross of TV fame who is also a well known comic book fan and previously write Turf.

The story inside is very well timed in its release. Aside from the current love of reality TV shows and the recent release of The Hunger Games, it hits a multitude of popular topics to hook readers.

America’s Got Powers opens with a transcript from a press conference and subsequent comments from readers. It doesn’t give much but does give you enough. from the very first page, you’re aware of some form of games and the viewers going wild over a brutalised gameshow which had dire consequences.

Moving back to the past the backstory is filled in by the arrival of a crystal which has somehow imbued a generation of children with powers.

In a strange twist of fate, and one which adds a nice unique element, instead of becoming superheroes or villains they are subjected to compete in games to prove their superiority and form the only recognised superteam. It’s harsh, vicious, brutal but most of all loved by all of the viewers.

This is not where the story revolves though. Although in the opening contest we see a combatant known as Bobby Watts, instead we meet Tommy, his smaller weaker zero powered brother who has been relegated to the realms of menial tasks and verging on being bullied. He’s a good kid at heart but lives in his brother’s shadow. It is only through a chance happening where he and a number of non-powered humans accidentally end up in the arena do things really change.

The writing isn’t bad, it’s realistic to a degree but overly emphasised. Very similar to the portrayal of society in “The Running Man” except without the social decay, in fact quite the opposite. The commentators come across as detestable and the action moves quickly, but what I also liked was how it all slowed at the end which worked very well.

Bryan Hitch’s work is good as always. I really liked his artwork on The Authority and this is another fine representation of his work. These are clearly powerful people but not drawn to ridiculous scale or size so they still fit in with the general populace. It’s a very bright and vibrant depiction.

As an opening issue it has a very big hook for readers however the ending does change things. As well as the action there are nice underlying tones of a much bigger issue with the “stoner” problem and the military involvement...

I enjoyed the issue and considering its price and the amount you get for it I was impressed. This is an interesting comic to follow which doesn’t conform to the norms of the comic world - as a fan driven piece of work it doesn’t fall down as an imitation or poor cousin to some of the bigger titles.

It’s enjoyable and a fun read especially as it is opening a new story but not taking things overly seriously. Worth a good look at for a new title for your pull list.

Matt Puddy will be a little late next week. Deal with it.

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