From Aspen Comics, David Schwartz, Micah Gunnell, Pasquale Qualano, David Curiel, Josh Reed and Vince Hernandez.
Longtime readers of the site know that we are under a month away from a wedding and its crunch time. You’ll notice there wasn’t a review of The Walking Dead or Avengers vs. X-Men this week. But you know what is so good, so engrossing that even with all of this work and stress I have to get my words out to all of you? Idolized.
Joule is an absolutely extraordinary character. I have high hopes that her story continues past the reality show. The issue expands a young comic book hero into someone real. Throughout the comic she is strong, confused, calm and angry. Every single emotion possible and yet every single one of them is true. Her strong moments had me cheering. The two panels of her lying in bed, all alone even when not alone, was heartbreaking. Then there is that shock ending.
That ending has me begging for the next issue. I want to email David Schwartz and ask for the script for issue 3. But then I would be right back in this feeling while waiting for issue 4.
This is one of the few, maybe even only, “real world” comics. Super heroes would take over all media. There would be reality shows, news shows, endorsements. Very few shows we watch would be the same in a super world. Real Super Housewives would happen. People would exploit their powers. Bystanders would be killed, probably often, and their children would want vengeance. Readers will be drawn to Joule not only because she is a unique and rounded character, but because her world is as well. Two issues in (well, three) and her entire world has more detail than the tales of random mutant #616. Most comic book writers will take the real world and just plop a super hero into it. David Schwartz is taking a super hero world and dragging our reality into it.
Plus there is the art! The only other company out there with such a deep variety of beautiful women is Suicide Girls. Every woman in the Aspen arsenal is stunning and original. No two have the same dimensions. Joule for example is girl next door gorgeous and appears just as innocent. I picture Micah and Pasquale reading the script, being asked to draw someone who looks innocent and naive yet its obvious to the reader that there is so much weight behind those eyes. And then they pull it off! How does a reality series in a comic book portray more truth than the dozens of reality shows we’re exposed to every night? Gentlemen, don’t teach me how you accomplish this, let me enjoy it for the magic that it is.
What’s the old joke about lettering? Readers only notice it when its bad? That couldn’t be more true. It was on the second reading that I noticed the incredibly limited use of sound effects. Joule and two robots. They go boom (and ka-boom). That’s it. With all of the other battles in this issue those are the only two sounds. It creates a mood of isolation, loneliness, yet also incredible strength. Much more so than giant Crash! and Bang! or the dreaded Pow! would have had if sprinkled through the other battles of the book.
Aspen has always had a remarkable color palate, and David Curiel adds so much to it. Joule’s blasts of energy look like water, cosmic nebulas, and sparkling diamonds all at once. He is a man who knows his lighting too. Different rooms have different hues and it all plays together to create this immersive experience.
A new television season is starting. But the best new series wont be found on cable, it will be found on the racks of your favorite comic book shop.