(Titan Comics 2015)
Written by Noel Clarke
Art by J. Cassara
Colors by Luis Guerrero
Letters by Rona Simpson
Our idea of mutants forever changed when the X-Men came on the comics scene in 1963. They went from horrifying creatures to people that could sometimes walk among us without our knowledge.
Stan Lee’s creation helped shine a light on discrimination. But what are the chances that it would really happen that way? They don’t call him Stan-the-man for nothing, but times are different, the medium has changed, and I hope, become a little more honest.
The Troop #1 dropped last week from Titan Comics and Dr. Who alum Noel Clarke. This is not your daddy’s mutant tale. This is a different world, one where the government has found a way to identify people with powers, and has taken it upon themselves to police the powered population. The people in power are zealots, ready to fry anyone who stands against them with a blast from their mechanical suits. (A la Iron Man.)
But there’s hope for our heroes, a man is also on the hunt for powered people, and is always just a second behind of the bad guys. He begins by rescuing a young girl named Stephanie who has the ability to change into stone, and has increased strength. How strong? Strong enough to throw a boulder at a chopper. The man saves her and together they try to save others.
In The Troop Noel Clarke has expanded the mutant idea, brought it into a more realistic sphere, and modernized what Stan Lee began in the 60’s. There’s no substitution for the original creation, and over the years the X-Men has had a series of writers that have expanded that universe while adding depth to the characters and mythos. But there is always that core, that place where there were fie young people in brightly colored costumes. Clarke has taken that away.
This world is one where the bigotry and discrimination that Stan Lee was first showcasing is brought to deadly clarity. The people in power have a terrifying ideology, and the power to unleash it on the world.
J. Cassara hasn’t done a ton of work, but his style and talent are evident with this book. He runs the gamut from tech to fantastical in his work, all of it splendid. Paired with Luis Gurerro’s colors this book is on par with the best out there. Cassara’s work speaks of hours at the drawing board.
The Troop #1 brings reality into comics. Noel Clarke’s take on what the world would be like if mutants were discovered among us is, unfortunately, more likely than what was put forth in the 60’s, but at the same time it is homage to all that came before it.
Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, all who put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.
Twitter – brad@comicwasteland