Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Almighties #1 review

Maxi-Tron. Ms F. Nite Fang. Mason. Stefanos. A super-team sponsored by the mysterious White Out, they embark on a series of missions 'to combat groups that pose a threat to the very fabric of American life'. But unknown to them, things aren't what they seem ...

The witty logo and the battle cry, 'Almighties Amass', make it clear that this is intended as a parody of the Avengers. Which is just as well, as the team isn't an obvious take on any iteration of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Yes, there's an Iron Man analogue in Maxi-Tron, and Ms F may be a Ms Marvel knock-off, but otherwise we're talking a werewolf, a Rambo and a kebab shop owner who beats people up with his mighty meat.

Obviously, the latter is my favourite. It's hard not to like a chap with mystery meat on a massive skewer, even if his British-style kebab shop seems incongruous in a US setting. As for the rest, Maxi-Tron is an ass with a weak spot, Ms F a Seventies throwback, Mason terribly keen to kill and Nite-Fang a sarcy sod. They have internal conflicts, but not ones especially reflecting Avengers history.

Sam Johnson and Mike Gagnon's script's not bad, with lots of pace and one or two good gags, but the Almighties are thicker than might be expected of title characters. The final revelations come via a (literally) parachuted-in new character.

The only real problem I have with this first issue is the depiction of some of the African-American characters whom the Almighties are sent to round up. Artist Pablo Zambrano, in the second half of the story, depicts leering, eye-popping stereotypes, throwbacks to less-enlightened times. I don't doubt the exaggeration aims for humour, but the effect is unfortunate. The enthusiasm is commendable, but on this showing Zambrano isn't quite ready for primetime. Eleanora Kortsarz's art in the first section is a little slicker, with the figure work and storytelling stronger - she also handles the cover. There's also a third artist, DC White, for the final pages, and their fight scene with a robotic Hitler works well.

Overall, this isn't a bad debut; it's trying hard to please, but as parodies go it doesn't quite hit the spot. I wonder how The Almighties would have turned out had the creators approached their material straight, with a few gags around the edges. As it is, there's so much plot that there's not a lot of room for character work, and these protagonists have potential as more than comic cuts. Still, this is a done-in-one, and at $1.99 for 28pp of story and art via digital download, it's worth a look.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review, Mart!

    You can get The Almighties #1 in $3.99 regular and Avengers-movie-poster-parody cover editions at www.the almighties.com and $1.99 Digital Edition at www.graphicly.com :)

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    1. This is a prime example of a review making me want a comic which otherwise, and through no fault of its own, would have passed me by. I know from experience how tough it is to review comics which may or may not be ready for that prime-time you mention, and you've dealt with matters which are both positive and negative in a way that reads as entirely good-hearted and balanced. Of course, I'll have to read the comic to see whether that's actually so, but reading you walk that difficult line was ... well, I found it inspiring, although the word may seem like hyperbole. A well-balanced review that doesn't shirk the difficult stuff or sidestep the matters needing applauding? A review which didn't do so wouldn't have interested me in the book at all.

      ps: apologies for the typo which led to me deleting a previous version of this. Yes, there was an even worse version of this comment before!

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    2. You're very welcome, Sam.

      Thanks for the generous response, Colin. And no need to apologise for any typo, I'm still getting Blogger Stickyness on some devices. Boo!

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