Grace Randolph’s Supurbia #6 (BOOM!)

Supurbia6

3.5 / 5 – Good but current issue is in the middle of many ongoing storylines.

  Comics publishing companies not named Marvel or DC (“the Big Two”) have a difficult decision, to super hero or not to super hero.  In the modern comic book world, it is by far the dominant genre, however many comic fans get their capes and cowls fix at the Big Two.  Boom has not shied away from this genre and Supurbia is another example.  On the plus side, the archetypes and tropes are so known by most readers that there is an instant familiarity and the independent companies are free to make fundamental changes to those characters that are impossible at the Big Two.  More correctly, at the Big Two they are possible for a short time, but the characters have too much value to be permanently dispatched or exiled.

This is the second volume of Supurbia, which initially started as a four issue limited series.  Due to its success, it was given an on-going which started again with a new number one issue.  I am essentially ignorant of Ms. Randolph’s achievements outside of this series, except that I know she does work for the website Bleeding Cool and the internet tells me she used to work for Marvel’s online presence.  She has crafted a take on the common super-hero archetypes that owes a debt to soap operas with a peek behind the façade.  Unlike Thom Zahler’s Love in Capes, we also get a fair amount of Super Hero action as well.

We have a Superman analog (Sovereign), Wonder Woman stand-in (Batu), Batman and Robin with a slight twist (Night Fox and Agent Twilight) along with others.  Because these archetypes are so well known, she can cut to the differences and she needs less exposition to introduce us to the world.    Her twist was also to focus on the families of these super heroes and how they would have to be segregated from the regular world and thrust into this unusual one.  Series artist, Russell Dauterman, previously unknown to me, is a great find with a classic super hero look.  He is able to convey expressions and keep quite a large cast of characters looking unique.  Colors on Gabriel Cassata fit well into the world Dauterman created.

The inside cover provides names and headshots of 16 primary characters along with an introductory paragraph, the first sentence of which, “Ex-Supervillain Helen Heart has successfully framed her old boyfriend Hector Hunt for her murder of journalist Hayley Harper – so everything in Supurbia should be great, right?”  That is only the first sentence and should give you a feel for how packed the storyline has become as well as the overly dramatic elements.  I enjoy this world, but if you intend to jump in anywhere but the beginning, you will have some fast catching up to do.  This comic alone touches on 6 different storylines involving the various characters.  It is really nice to be able to immerse yourself in a complete world although to be honest, when the new issue arrives, I do have to review the cast of characters to get them straight.  I usually remember the storylines for the most part.  Like all good page turners, issue 6 ends with a twist on the last page.  I also appreciate that it is not just written for 4 to 6 issue installments but has these ongoing storylines.  I am in the for next issue (and the one after that and after that, etc), but new readers will need some patience (or get the back issues).

andrew@comicspectrum.com
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