This is the first issue of a 4-part miniseries, published inn 2015 by Darby Pop Publishing and Magnetic Press, and it opens with a man sticking a gun in his mouth and preparing to commit suicide. So right off the bat you know this isn’t going to be your typical traditional superhero comic book.
The man in question is Richard, and he’s actually a superhero called Phantasm, who works as the side-kick of the beloved superhero Mr. Marvelous in Chicago. In one of their adventures, we see how Mr. Marvelous takes Phantasm for granted, and flat-out tells him that he’s replaceable, even though Phantasm is the one who covers for Mr. Marvelous’ often reckless use of his powers, which allows Mr. Marvelous to get all the public glory. Phantasm is so disregarded that his fiance Emily has just left him, two months before their wedding. This is what has left Richard feeling suicidal. Richard is stopped from killing himself by a phone call from a friend, inviting him to meet some other friends out for drinks at a bar.
This is where we meet the other lead characters who are also superhero sidekicks, and young men like himself. Al is Jolt, sidekick to the Flying Fox. And despite his mentor being rich, Al is forced to take a side job at a fast-food joint to make ends meet. George is Atlas, sidekick to the ancient Egyptian-themed superhero, The Scepter. During an adventure, Atlas saves an innocent bystander and proceeds to get yelled at by The Scepter for not watching his back. Dan is Mustang, sidekick to the super-speed hero Captain Celerity (I had to look up “celerity“), and he’s the only side-sick in the city that gets any respect from the public. In fact, he gets a little too much respect, as Captain Celerity ends up firing him out of jealousy of his popularity. Also in the group is Walter, an older man who works at a local newspaper, he doesn’t appear to be a superhero or a sidekick, so his connection to the group is unclear at the time. He appears to be sympathetic to the younger men’s concerns, but when Walter tries to get his boss to let him cover the adventures of the sidekicks, he’s rebuffed.
Richard and Dan get together to complain, and that’s when they get the video to call all the other superhero sidekicks together and plan to go on strike.
So this is a set-up issue, getting us introduced to this world and the main characters, and it succeeded in setting up the environment and premise of the series. It’s an interesting concept that intrigued me enough to want to see what happened next. So I have no complaints about the writing, which is by co-creator Russell Brettholtz. The art is by co-creator Miguel Mendonca and Bong Dazo (who sadly died in 2018), and that’s a little rough. It’s decent enough for the story, but there’s room for improvement, and it’s the only area that keeps me from giving this comic a perfect score. Nevertheless, it’s good enough for me to recommend.
Chacebook rating: FOUR STARS
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