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I’ve read a lot of independent comics over the years. Some good, some not so good, and some that just knock my socks off with how good they are. Super! is an example of one of these such books.
Created by writer/artist Zachary Dolan and writer/letterer Justin Piatt, Super! is a creator owned comic funded by Kickstarter that follows the story of a motley team of amateur superheroes as they struggle to make a name for themselves in an overcrowded city filled with other heroes and teams. Volume one collects issues one through five of the series so far. Issue one, four, and five are all stand alone issues while issues two and three are two parters. Each issue is told from the perspective of one of the main characters as they elaborate on the world around them, their personal lives, their feelings, and whatever threat of the day that they are facing.
Almost sound like something that you might read in a Marvel or DC comic? That’s because it’s suppose to come off that way.
Super! in a way, is like the comic book equivalent of Venture Bros. Instead of being a straight up parody or a retelling of already well-known characters or properties, it is more of a loving homage to the genre but also knows when to laugh at itself and isn’t afraid to poke fun at various superhero, video game, anime, and comic book tropes in it while still being able to provide a compelling, serious, or heartwarming story in the end.
Normally, I think that this formula would be hard to do but Dolan and Piatt mange to do it so well. The dialogue is fluid and natural, the world is large and expansive, the costumes designs and names of the characters are diverse and well done, and the humor is clever and will hopefully make you laugh as much as I did.
Not only is the writing top-notch, but the art is simply stunning. Its colorful, clean, detailed, and very expressive. Each page was a joy to look at as I turned from one to the next.
Of course, there would be no Super! if it weren’t for one of the most important aspect of any story, the characters. There may be a lot of capes flying around in this city where super battles, alien invasions, robot attacks, and collateral damage is practically a daily occurrence, no other hero stands out as much to me to as the members of this currently unnamed team of nobodies. Blitz, the Furious Fire-Ant, Max Archer, Silhouette, Blood Death, the Unquenchable Lush, the Streak, and Adventure Man Zero all make up this little ragtag group. Normally an ensemble cast could be difficult to handle, but again it’s done well here. Every character has time to shine and each of them are fun, crazy, and entertaining in their own way. Even some of the villains get the same kind of treatment. Not all of them have been fleshed out yet but it seems like they will be as the series progresses.
As much as I enjoyed Super!, I will admit that it’s not perfect. Sometimes the dialogue may come off as wordy and as much as cursing in a story doesn’t really bother me, I do feel like it could have been toned back a bit. As the book progressed, it did seem like those two aspects did seem to be cut down a bit. Really just more of couple of minor nitpicks than anything else.
Super! Volume One is pure and nonstop fun from start to finish with its cast of crazy characters, witty writing, superb artwork, balanced comedic/serious tone, and the untold potential for stories. If this is something that you look for or love when it comes to reading comics, than I think this is definitely the book for you.
FINAL SCORE: 9.5 out of 10