donderdag 22 november 2012


Welcome to AMERICA'S GOT POWERS! It's the biggest TV show on Earth, where the chance to win fame, fortune and get laid are dangled in front of a generation of super-powered teens. All they have to do is WIN. Who is the fastest, the strongest or the greatest? Who survives? Young Tommy Watt's dreams of being the greatest hero of them all might just be shattered when the greatest show on the planet begins to reveal its dark heart.
 Jonathan Ross/ Bryan Hitch

Allrighty then, to start off this book has surprising fresh twists around every page. At first glance you'll be tempted to call it a generic Superhero book - not even a good one, but something akin you'd see in PG-13 action/fantasy movie. There are supernatural gifted people present, and their powers are described yet not explained. Then we have the typical boy who despite being one of them, has zero powers until one day he unlocks hidden abilities to save lives. Cutting the cheese cake huh? (though I like cake, so no complaint from there) But what gripped me from this book (aside its art, I'll have a whole section about that) is how intelligent it's written, before - in the last few pages - just exploding your head with an unexpected turn. Spoiler alert, though I won't be spoiling the REALLY big things for you.

#1 Fair enough. We see the world, which reminds me of a 2000s near-future movie. No weird or futuristic stuff yet, just that weird glow that surrounds modern stuff (Like it's set in an Apple commercial). Bright colours everywhere, and dynamic shots with cool scenery. We are explained the origins of the super-powered teens: a sudden explosion of blue energy. This is very reminiscent of the origins of heroes in JMS Rising Stars. Lets hope this comic doesn't turn as bleak as that. Well...too late. Apparently a riot couple of years ago caused the government to imprison all super-powered teens into camps where they'd live and go to school...and fight in a "hunger games" styled arena for TV-ratings. Of course that's just optional - though the participants face life-threatening dangers inside. Though, good TV. Tommy, our main character, is a zero powered teen who has several jobs - one of them being a mascot.  During a battle against killer robots the force field around the arena get's damaged and a kid falls in. Tommy dives in for the rescue, and before a robot can squash them, a blue force suddenly explodes around Tommy and all the robots are disabled. 
Mind blown.

#2 This issue deals with the fallout of the explosion. Tommy becomes a star, nicknamed Zero and the elite people in power (no pun) want another fight out of him. He's reluctant though because he had a brother who was killed in the arena, and he promised his mother he would never fight. Though at the end of the issue its the mother who pleads him to fight. Why? Because she was shown something you'd never expect. Read the comic, find out.
Mind blown 2.

#3 is more character development, while also Tommy's experience in the arena. He's immediately targeted by the main bully of the story, all while the elite military people are eagerly awaiting another spectacle out of him. Their pet psychic can simply detect a slight energy spike out of Tommy when he gets a hard hit on the face. Many people are thoroughly disappointed. We also briefly cut away to see a band of super-powered teens  outside the camp, having escaped the governments claws. They're planning something big, but Tommy (who used to be familiar with them) sudden power surprised them. They decide to free him. At the other time, the main scientist suddenly gets an idea which is proven true when we cut back to the little boy Tommy saved in issue 1. The whole stereotypical destined hero cliche gets turned aside with a single page.
Mind THOROUGHLY blown.

Thats pretty much about the art. Lets talk about Bryan Hitch art.
Beautiful beautiful cinematic realistic art. We see large panels with beautiful rendered buildings and colourful people...from suprising angles and dynamic layouts. The first three pages of the first issue are "wow" already. Panels that run through two pages with a big background. No unnecessary spaces, no splash pages of characters just posing, the splash pages are meant for the background with the highly detailed buildings, and there are always panels presents that tell a part of the story. This is gold story telling.

If I have to nitpick, then I have 2 issues.
First, I find that the art in Hitch earlier work like Ultimates and New Avengers is a bit cleaner than here. And I primarily mean inking. Especially in ultimates the inking was superb. Here, the lines are thick and in my opinion not as fine as in his previous work.
Second is a nitpick to the covers. They say that all a good cover hints the readers at the story inside, seduces them that there is a good story inside worth spending their money on. Of course, America's Got Powers IS worth it. But the covers just aren't that great in my opinion. We have so far 3 covers of Tommy just posing in generic superhero poses. Sometimes there are background characters flying around in the back, but as a new reader we just see people in athlete outfits. There is nothing truly that makes it all stand out. And with the big reveal in issue 3 I realized that all the cover's where Tommy is punching through walls or the ground are essentially a lie.
Or perhaps its clever satire at television and how they elevate their stars?

Your pick.

So that was America's Got Powers. Definitely worth the money, so go pick it up. 4 out of 5 stars.

Z. v. M.

woensdag 21 november 2012

My introduction

Hello there, and thank you for taking the time to glance at my new blog.

This is not the first blog I've made, but hopefully this will be the one to last. I had been thinking about why my other blogs failed, and I've come to the conclusion that perhaps its my goal that played a roll. What is my goal? To inform, to enlighten. So that's why in my earlier blogs I invited people to take a seat, make your pillow comfortable and sip from their hot tea or coffee while I lecture about the stuff I love. ?

And that's where I choked.

I guess I'm not much of a lecturer - yes I can go on for hours and hours talking about these stuff, comics and proses especially, but at some point this is not really enlightening. Learning stuff isn't just sitting and hearing stuff being said to you, or saying stuff to people the whole time. You learn by communicating. I can plead my case, but I'll choke if I don't have someone who asks the questions "why", "how so" and or "explain..?" etc.

So here we are. A new blog, a new approach.

No lavish reviews, or deep analytic stuff right on the main page. I have been notified by minions that there is an "edit" button to the blog. So instead I'll work like this: I'll post my review or my thoughts about a subject briefly here (though there is a possibility I'll publish longer works) and I'll spread the information generally but still with my flair of opinion. If there are any questions, I'll answer those in comments, and incorporate that in the article. So when you visit old works, you might see new stuff right off the bat, rather than strolling through comments. Otherwise, if there are no in depth question's, I'll still add extra stuff over time. Dont worry though: I'll make a weekly update about stuff being added in blogs, and schedules for coming weeks too.

So, I've been talking alot about my intentions and all, lets now go to my subjects. What shall this blog be about?

Well comics, duhh.

Ofcourse not only comics. Here's a list of possible subjects:
- Comics
- Prose novels/novella's/short stories
- Art
- Story telling tips
- Recent Events
- Controversial topics like: Racism, feminism, anarchism,  etc.
- Philosophy

Well, keep in mind that comics are the main focus of this blog. I read TONS of comics, so there is no excuse for me not to publish something atleast once per week. Whether its a one issue review or a whole story arc. The other stuff are going to be sporadic and things that are at that moment, bugging my mind.

I support discussion and questions, and do my best to address them. As long as you, the reader and commenter, do your best to stay polite and open minded.

*steps off soapbox*
Thank you for your time, and may this blog fare well.

~ Zerachiel van Mark