From Boom Studios, Grace Randolph, Russell Dauterman, Gabriel Cassata, Steve Wands.
One of the solicits for this issue promised a super hero fight like you’ve never seen it before. The Avengers movie promised the same thing. And both succeeded on two different levels.
Supurbia has the first comic book battle that’s not about the battle. It is about the lovers, spouses and family members who have to watch their loved ones fight. The hype wasn’t just hype, this is a new and original take on super heroes that I haven’t seen before.
The entire issue is what happens between the usual panels of a comic book. Its one big “meanwhile….” By making the issue about things other than punches and energy beams the expectations are removed and the entire creative team is free. Free to tell the story of a woman who loves her life with the most powerful being on the planet so much that she’ll risk it all in order to save it. Free to have a quiet glass of hot chocolate while the world is in danger. Free to have a scene on a couch be one of the most dramatic scenes in all of comics this year.
I have already been shouting from the rooftops, telling everyone how wonderful Grace Randolph is as a writer. But lets give the entire crew credit, especially on this scene.
First of all, it starts with Grace. She shows her maturity as a writer in this “less is more” page. There are only three word balloons on the page (well, you could say four, but either way you see my point) and only 25 words. Yet look at it. The distance speaks volumes. The faces, the slight stutter. That horribly tense moment when something bad is happening and everyone wants to say something but no one knows what to say.
The words alone (or lack of them) aren’t enough. Just look at how Russell draws every face. From blank, to matronly, to fear, to relief, to horrible. I would love to see Grace’s original script for this issue. ”Russell, in the last panel could you draw Ruth and make sure she looks like an evil bitch?” All jokes aside, Russell might draw the best faces in comics today.
From faces to body types as well. No one looks the same in this series. Not only could Sovereign, Nightfox, Agent Twilight and the super men be placed side by side and also be distinctive, but the women can be as well! Eve, Ruth, Batu, Helen, the kids – everyone has their own body type, hair, even skin color. There should be a star burst cover blurb on a future issue – No Brokeback Guarantee!
Back to the skin colors, Gabriel Cassata adds to Russell’s art and makes every character unique. In a book about the “other side” of super heroes there needs to be more colors than leather black, blood red and chrome. Gabriel colors take into account the palate of the overly wealthy interior decorated reality show homes this series is based on. The clothes would be both plain and glamorous, but always fabulous. The homes would have to be immaculate at all times. Color, chic, Feng Shui, all of it. There is a real world eye for design in this book that just isn’t usually seen in super hero comics. Sure, the Fourth World has a certain look. But what does Peter Parker’s apartment look like? In Reed and Sue Richards bed room who sleeps on which side of the bed? I can picture the homes in Supurbia like I can picture the living rooms and kitchens of my favorite sitcom families. Don’t sit there and tell me you don’t know where the sink is in the Cosby house!
Lets not forget the lettering by Steve Wands. Especially on the previously shown page. The two balloons in the last panel read as a pause, making the scene even more dramatic. The reader has to pause while reading it, and thus assumes a pause when it was said. Maybe Eve just took a breathe, or maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I felt I had to take a breathe in that moment as well. Sound effects start in one panel and continue in another making these scenes seamless.
I try to not reveal too much of the story, but the introduction of Hector is insane. I swore I saw a rumor that Supurbia was now an ongoing but I cant find that article as I write. I hope this to be true. There is no end to the possibilities that this team can create.
And to the reviewers that thought these characters were one dimensional archetypes? (You know who you are.) What do you think now?!