Image Comics 2015
Written by Mark Millar
Illustrated by Wilfredo Torres
Coloured by Ive Svorcina
Well alright now that we’ve gotten past the whole Blue Bolt issue which to be quite honest I hadn’t thought would be dealt with so quickly was handled in an extremely fantastic manner. Yes this is an issue devoted to that and I have to hand it to Mark for the brutal honesty it’s been told in. This is how things should be among family and friends, or friends who find themselves as family.
There’s really something special about this book. We’ve seen their children already and how they in the here and now but this look back to a time that was in some ways more innocent and yet more complex as they pave a new way being the first super-heroes on the planet. With shades of the super-friends but with real world problems this book breaks ground only hinted at with groups like the Justice Society, when they were told to unmask or disband.
An intergalactic slave trader comes to Earth and Utopian demonstrates he’s got some real smarts here as he manages to defeat him and his Doom-Droid, who has all their powers in spectacular fashion. It’s something we’d never really see elsewhere and Mark’s way of getting the win here is genius. The bravery shown Utopian/Sheldon Sampson is remarkable and in an age where cellphones and 24/7 news stations don’t exist his risky play isn’t that risky. Though to have your enemy know your secret well that’s another story.
I love this in-depth look into Blue Bolt the man with three different identities. Super-Hero, idol to millions, a neonatal surgeon of some renown and a secret homosexual the last in this era endangers the lives and reputations of all the people closest to him. Wilfredo does this thing where see him in each guise and it’s remarkable how different each one seems to be. As a closet homosexual he throws himself in drink and parties to cope. When J. Edgar Hoover comes knocking with pictures of tryst with a gardner threatening blackmail and his family’s ruined reputation if he doesn’t reveal his teammates identities well that’s where the real drama comes in.
It’s so easy to forget that it wasn’t that long ago that being a homosexual was pretty much living the life of an outlaw and that some men like Hoover would, supposedly, prey upon his own kind to get what he wants. God this look at how he feels about himself is at times agonizing and brutally honest for that time as he sees himself as abnormal something nowadays kids especially can’t understand. Unwilling to betray his friends he seeks a permenant solution of a different kind. Ah something many think about and all too many do. On a personal note it’s too bad we didn’t see “him” as he entered the bathtub. His note explaining things well that we don’t really get to read but his friends prove loyalty/friendship and family go a long way.
There’s a surprise ending too and it’s great to see that only one member on the team has a problem with him being a homo. Alright if this is the kind of stuff we can expect from the rest of this run then hell yeah i’m in. This is brutally honest, fun, complex and definitely character driven storytelling that doesn’t hold anything back. Not to mention the colourful costumes and the fantastic adventures make it reminiscent of the old days but in a fresh new way.
Mark’s a powerhouse writer and this book already takes it’s place among the upper echelon of titles on the stand today. Also Wilfredo and Ive do something equally as special on the interiors as they do this throwback style which is expressive and powerful as anything else out today.