It has always followed that any team of superheroes needs to have balance. There needs to be the smart one, the moral center, the powerful one, and a few others that appear on rotation. When you combine all of these character archetypes, you are supposed to get an engaging team that are capable of handling any struggle that comes their way, while simultaneously having enough weaknesses to be an interesting group of people.
In the world of Indestructible: Stingray, we follow the team known as the League of Defenders, and throughout this first issue you are instantly aware that Kelly, our humble protagonist is the odd one out. She seems to be younger than every one else, less experienced, and her powers are strictly based around water, a fact the script spends quite a lot of time focusing on. We learn about facets of Kelly’s personality, a little bit about why she wanted to join the League of Defenders, and the difficulties she has in fitting in with her new colleagues.
It is both a positive and a negative that Stingray gets the vast majority of attention in this issue. It is good because she is supposed to be the character that drives the story, as such understanding her motivations, her struggles, and her history is key to being engaged in the story. However, the failure to really flesh out the rest of the characters in this issue beyond paper thin archetypes is a severe weakness of the issue. They seem to just interact with Kelly in the most simplistic ways possible. Their feelings towards her are more based on features of their personality, than actual events taking place in the comic. For instance, the team’s field general, Princess Power does not approve of Stingray joining the team. However, this disapproval and her hostility towards Kelly is never explained in terms of character experience. It is simply stated that she does not approve of Stingray, and other characters play it off as Princess Power not approving of anyone.
As a result of its failure to expand on the supportive cast, the story cannot help but stumble a bit through key sections of the narrative. The character archetypes are rushed, the way they relate to each other seems a bit forced, and the twist towards the end is rehashed from every other ‘hero down on their luck’ story every told. While the dialogue is quite strong, and features a nice blend of comedy and drama, the characterizations are so thin that the members of the League of Defenders never manage to be all that memorable. Their supposed struggles seem shallow, and even their functionality as a team seem a bit questionable as they flaunt around the battlefield with plenty of confidence but quite little skill.
The world our characters live in is visualized beautifully through Luca Reguzzoni’s art, with engaging designs, sleek backdrops, and fluid motion during the key action sequences. It is art that neither distracts from the story during its dialogue heavy pages, nor oversells its ability during the more movement heavy action scenes. While Zac Atkinson’s colors cannot help but come off as a bit overly bright and colorful at times, during the underwater sequences he too manages to add a lot of mood to the scenes.
Despite its faults, Indestructible: Stingray #1 is a solid opening that lays a lot of the foundation for an interesting world, and the hopes of worthwhile characters to populate this world with. There’s a lot of potential in this story, and if first time scribe Jeff Marsick can overcome his initial struggles to create a complex team of interesting personalities, he has a good enough structure in place from this issue to make Indestructible: Stingray a quality comic in the months to follow.
Indestructible: Stingray #1 earns a solid 7/10.