You’re the main character, and you don’t have any superpowers, but everyone else does. To the reader, you look normal, but you’re considered to be the outcast in a population of weird, wacky-looking mutants. You’re the vulnerable human rather than the other way around.
Welcome to the world of the new mankind.
On June 2nd, start-up company Jam Packed Productions will release its debut book, The Super Naturals #1. I was able to get my mitts on the issue a little early, and I have to say that it’s an all-around promising start.
The story is quick. The pages fly by; partially because of the action, partially because of the full-page eye candy. We get introduced to a world where normal-looking humans (“norms”) are eliminated on sight by the new mankind: a fantastically diverse population of freaks (according to the reader). For reasons unknown, the norms are all but gone, and our main character, Jay, is forced to live in the secret basement of his parents’ home, watching TV and being waited on by his four-armed, reddish-skinned mother.
As they’re sharing a tender moment, the police (led by a relentless green-skinned teleporter – most likely the captain) arrive. Mom runs upstairs to head them off in order to buy some time for our teenaged norm who’s fixing to slip out a secret passage. She starts beating the piss out of some cop grunts. Before Jay is able to escape, he hears a gunshot. Mom’s apparently dead. He screams and takes off. The teleporter follows the yelp as the house’s self-destruct countdown is triggered. (Apparently Jay’s escape has been a contingency plan for some time, just in case the cops come knocking.) Why did the cops show up on Jay’s doorstep? Well, based on a comment Mom made during the tender moment earlier, Jay, bored with his secluded life, had recently been gallivanting through the neighborhood under the cover of darkness and was apparently spotted.
Back to the action where Jay flees the murder scene through a tunnel (most likely the same passage he uses to slip out at night to feel a modicum of ordinary life). The teleporting captain is in pursuit and (quite luckily) decides to take a shortcut through the tunnel wall just as the house explodes. Jay emerges from the tunnel and is caught shortly thereafter.
The last scene shows Jay on a bus with a bunch of disheveled norms on their way to some sort of detention facility.
Whew. It was a short, wild ride. The story is surprisingly refreshing. Tapia’s execution is pretty good. Although, there is a bit of an issue with the pacing; it seemed as though the story jumped too far forward between the panels. An extra panel here and there would have made the transitions a little smoother. I don’t know if it was the writing or the art that caused it to be that way, but it really isn’t anything to get worked up about, especially considering this is the first effort from a brand new company.
On art chores we have newcomer Jamie Biggs, and I think he has some real talent. The art is McFarlane-esque; Todd’s same hyper-detailed style permeates the issue. Now, I’m a McFarlane fan, but the one thing I never really liked about his style was that his drawings of human faces were always a bit too warped. The eyes are a little too big, and the detail is a little too exaggerated. Todd’s freaky-looking creatures, however, were ALWAYS fantastic. Biggs has that same thing going on here but with one advantage: most of the characters in The Super Naturals are freaky-looking, so there’s no such thing as exaggeration. He’s a fresh artist in this business, but he will go far should he develop his McFarlane style as well as other styles. My only critique on the art – and I’m not sure if this was an issue with Biggs or the colorist – is that it was mildly confusing at times. There were a few panels that I had to stare at for a bit longer than usual in order to figure out what I was looking at. Other than that, I was pretty happy.
Another note about the art: the book was going to originally be published in black and white, but Tapia thought better of it and was able to hold the publication for a while. Happily, he found a colorist in Lawrence Basso. I think that it was a good move. With all of Biggs’ fun-looking creatures, black and white would have just been a shame.
With all considered, I think that this book has the best premise and the most promise of any new title I’ve seen in quite some time. I can’t think of any brand new concept from the Big Two that has really been setting the world on fire, you know? Once the few kinks are worked out, this will be top tier title.
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