Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hell Yeah #1

Written by Joe Keatinge
Art by Andre Szymanowicz

Over the last few years, we've seen a resurgence of the 'superhero utopia' genre of comics - books like Halcyon, Last of the Greats, and The Mighty, and I started to think that we didn't need any more, but Joe Keatinge, who has recently made a splash with his new take on the Rob Liefeld property Glory, is approaching it all from a different direction.

In this series, super powered individuals first appeared during the Gulf War, rescuing a captured US soldier, before going on to end that conflict, and introduce great changes to the world, ushering a period of peace and prosperity.

It appears that this comic is centred on Benjamin Day, the son of that rescued soldier, who attends a university for powered individuals (many people now develop abilities at puberty), but is constantly under threat of expulsion for fighting, both on and off campus.  Most of this issue is used to develop Ben, who is a bit of a childish jerk, and to establish the status quo of his world.

Keatinge also drops numerous hints that things are not as they seem.  There is the mystery of the barcode tattoo that appeared on Ben's neck around the same time as his abilities developed.  The identity of his mother is hidden from us, with the suggestion that Ben's parents have been lying to him for years.  Also, at the end of the comic, there is the appearance of three people who have been looking for him, for reasons we don't know.  All of this has managed to create a sense of intrigue around this comic, and so while it doesn't exactly scream out ingenuity, there is enough here to keep me interested.

Andre Szymanowicz, who I only know from Elephantmen, does some very good work here. He is very talented at revealing character through facial expressions, and gives the book a nice look.

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