donderdag 22 november 2012

AMERICA'S GOT POWERS (#1-#3)



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 cool...no, 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.




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