Overground Comics 2016
Written & Coloured by Jon Hughes
Illustrated by Matthew Weldon
Kristen Kounslar has had her ups and downs in her second life as the superstar superhero Plus Ultra. Today is a new day for her. After reinventing her image following a recent embarrassment, Kristen decides to take a day off to treat herself to some shopping and relaxations. For a woman like Kristen, though, days off seldom go as planned.
Now that we’ve established the character and how she’s decided to change not only how she’s perceived but actually herself it’s time to put those changes into practical situations. That means it’s time to up the ante and Jon does that nicely here. While there’s no way to measure time a good idea of how much has passed since last issue is seeing the Plus Ultra mannequin in the window sporting her new look and her reaction to it. So i’m guessing not much time at all has passed since last issue.
One of the first things I noticed this issue was a slight change in the interior artwork. It seems sharper, cleaner and more detailed to me and if this is how Matthew is going to keep improving as the series goes along then well heck we’re in for a treat. What I see this issue is a wonderful maturity and i’m impressed by pages and panel usage, body proportions, angles and just the overall effect he’s bringing. I can’t wait to see what he’s like a few issues from now and see how much better it gets.
Jon does a few really nice things here. One is he solidifies Plus Ultra’s ties to the world he’s created with Zero Tech an Herocorp more firmly. The introduction of the Blood of the Earth team, think Greenpeace in terms of willing to do whatever it takes to save the Earth so if that makes them Eco-Terrorists well that’s up to you but regardless how they got their powers and that they are all so similar is great to see. It does make for a nice possibility of her having some formidable foes to fight or for them to get some spotlight to see if they are villainous or just champions of the planet.
Love the dialogue here too! Her chat with the local Policeman about the Blood of the Earth was great. It’s nice to see that even though this is “her city” she isn’t up to speed on everything going on and she’ll need to grow some contacts and a supporting cast to keep her more in the loop. It’s the little things like this that just prove heroes aren’t all-knowing and need help and it’s a subtle thing but definitely worth noting. Then there’s her phone conversation which again ties her into the world even more and brings up something else to be explored later and while I felt the tension of that phone call I couldn’t help but dig it.
So the set-up phase is over and they are moving onto the next one where we see her in action more defending her city and learning more about those around her. I like how the series is being constructed and the character grows from issue to issue and that we are getting to see more and more of her city, Houston (?), through her eyes and those she encounters. It’s clear the boys are more getting more comfortable and gaining confidence in their work and if this keeps up then sky’s the limit and it’s already a book that reminds us all what we’ve been missing from the industry lately.