(Unlikely Heroes Studios, 2011-2013)
Review by Brad Gischia
Creators – Zachary Dolan & Justin Piatt
Pencils – Zachary Dolan
Inks (#2 & #3) – Laurie Foster
Lettering – Justin Piatt
Colors – Everardo Orozco
Color Assist – Ludwig Olimba
Additional Pencils & Inks – Tara Kappal
My experience with Kickstarted projects has up to this point been extraordinarily positive. I haven’t come across any comics that I thought didn’t deserve the support they got, financially or otherwise, so it was no surprise to me to see that Super! issues 1-3 were up to those same high standards. The surprise for me was that when I first saw the books, I thought it was something put out by a well-established company.
Unlikely Heroes Studios is not well-established in the sense that Image and Dark Horse are, i.e. they don’t have multiple popular books, but f they continue to put out high quality books like this one, they are sure to be on the fast-track to rock the comics world with the emergence of another strong publisher.
Zachary Dolan and Justin Piatt are the minds behind Super!, a book in the style of Astro City and Welcome to Tranquility in that it focuses on a world in which multiple heroes exist, almost to the point of over-population. The heroes in Cosmopolis are so evident that the city advertises it as “the place to fall out of a window”. But we are not, as in Welcome, focusing on the retirement community of heroes, or as in Astro City, focusing on the A-team. Super! doesn’t even focus on the B-team if there can be one in a place with such an over-abundance of heroes. We are looking into the lives of…maybe the F or G-team. There are some heavy-hitters, but at the same time we have one guy called The Streak, who is just that. A really fast, naked man.
Piatt and Dolan add so many little references to the popular culture of their childhood that I can only guess they grew up at the same time I did. (There’s a Grand Moff Tarkin quote.)
These are the Great Lakes Avengers…remember them? No? There’s a reason for that. They’re almost always late to the party or unable to actually stop the crime or the bad guys if they get there on time. Their founder, Max Archer, is basically a Tony Stark homage, if Stark was even more self-involved and a little less prone to get it right on the first try.
The membership stands at 8, Max Archer included. Each character has been thought out, which I love. The Streak, already mentioned. Blood Death is a psycho-crazy Punisher/Captain America mash-up, and he speaks his justice-laden inner-monologue as his dialogue that is more often than not hilarious. The Furious Fire Ant has a super-suit, and his the Spider-Man analogue, quippy and snarky. Adventure Man Zero is a robot created by Archer, who has growth powers. (And though not shown yet, I would assume shrinking powers.) Silhouette is the broody Batman/Spawn/Cloak kind of hero, dark and mysterious and with utter contempt for his fellow heroes. The Unquenchable Lush is a scrawny, brainy young man named Brian, who, when he drinks alcohol, becomes a super-strong, nearly impervious berserker. (Still in the body of Brian.) And finally, who would seem to be the only one with an actually chance at becoming an A-teamer, Blitz. Paula Terry can fly and is super-strong, as well as able to shoot lighting. There is also some family connection to The People’s Champions, the reigning A-team of Cosmopolis.
Amidst all of these heroes are still more heroes, which makes this a fun universe for Dolan and Piatt to play in. They spoof tons of mainstream heroes, but their trick is to make it not seem like a spoof most of the time.
The writers are also the pencillers and inkers on this project, which makes them a double…uh…double threat. Quadruple threat I guess…the art is fantastic. Like I said before, this looks like a book put out by an already established company. The combination of pencils and the coloring by Everardo Orozco reminded me of the early Humberto Ramos stuff from the Wildstorm Cliffhanger series. It is vibrant, but doesn’t take itself too seriously.
With three issues in the can Super! keeps you wanting more. This book has the legs to stand for a long time. It’s a complete world filled with believable characters. And that’s no small accomplishment. In a city filled with super heroes it seems easy to believe that one could drink himself into super-heroics. It’s a lighter look at heroes, and one that is fun through and through.
Simply said, these are pro books at a Kickstarter price. I nominate the folks at Unlikely Heroes Studios the most likely to put out mind-blowingly good books in the future, just like Super!.
“Super!” #3 releases November 27th. Check the Unlikey Heroes Website for more info!
New Kickstarter campaign begins this December! See announcement image below:
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