REVIEW: ‘Super, Inc.’ #1-2

(Cruel Productions, 2013)

Written by Aghori Shaivite
Art and Lettering Issue #1 by Emmil Friman, OAD Art, Maverick, Vicki Pittman, Naldridge
Art in Issue #2 by Addict-Se, Vicki Pittman, Pert Badillo, Pramodace, Animixter

Publishing an indie book is hard work.  And sometimes that work gets overshadowed.

Super Inc. from Cruel Productions is thus far a two-issue book that is based around the Saints of Death, a criminal organization operating in Capitol City.  Written by Aghori Shaivite it is an homage to mobster and Yakuza films, gory and crime ridden, full of criminal revenge and backstabbing. (Both literal and metaphorical.)

I love the idea here.  It’s a look at the villains, just the villains, for an extended period of time.  Just what DC tried to do with their “Villains Month”.

Issue #1 contains four shorts, each spotlighting one of the villains from the Saints, each with a different art style.  I’m not sure that it’s completely successful.  There are some spacing and coloring issues with the lettering, as well as a spelling error that make for a disjointed read.  There were so many different art styles that it was hard to focus on the stories, which didn’t feel like they had enough room to grow in such a short format.  My favorite story from issue #1 was the first, a somewhat satirical look at Colonel Cruel, and drawn in a simple black and white style that recalls Robert Crumb.  It’s a nice short, a complete idea, and executed well.

Issue two is the origin story of Cap’n Death, who is first introduced in issue one.  It’s divided into four shorts again, but this time, since each is dealing with the same character and a continuation of the previous tale, Shaivite has a chance to expand on the original idea, and that makes for a more complete and rounded story.  There’s a thing that he’s doing with Colonel Cruel, where he breaks the 4th wall and talks about the comic book, that I saw a little of in the first issue and wished there was more of.  It had sort of a John Byrne’s She-Hulk feel to it, but other than those two instances it was absent.  It almost seemed out of place in the second issue, because after that brief comic interlude, the rest of the book was all dark and mobstery.  The art in issue two is a little more stable, with Pert Badillo and Promadace putting in some good panels, but it still feels like they’re trying to get their comic legs beneath them.

Super Inc. feels like it doesn’t really know what it wants to be yet, and that’s okay, but there are errors in the pages that shouldn’t get by, and if they are possible to fix they should be.  The art has good moments, like Emmil Friman’s Colonol Cruel pages, but for the most part is too different at all the wrong points to make the whole thing feel like a concise, complete work.  But publishing these books is hard work, and I feel like once Shaivite and Co. get a feel for what they’re trying to do with this book it will come off a whole lot cleaner.

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