Overground Comics 2016
Written by Jon Hughes
Illustrated by Matthew Weldon
Coloured by William Anderson
Kristin Kounslar never gave a second thought to her image when she created her alter ego, Plus Ultra. She squished her body into a super tight costume and heels and watched her bank account swell. Now, however, times are changing. Sex might sell, but also comes with scrutiny. After a recent embarrassment, Plus Ultra finds herself at a crossroads.
The first issue was a great introduction to the character and what she’s going through. This issue expands on that and has her taking a closer look at herself. I really like the amount introspective and characterization we get from Jon here. It’s a nice change of pace from seeing overly sexualized female characters in mainstream comics. Yes we all know that sex sells but at what point do you sell yourself based on sexuality and then convert that exposure to what you can really are about? That seems to be Kristin’s diving question right now and honestly it’s being handled in this incredibly realistic and human way.
A great example of this the opening sequence. Yeah we think there’s a bank robbery situation and Plus Ultra has gone to capture the robbers but in reality it’s something completely different and this is something that we see all too often these days. One of the worst examples in human history of selling oneself is, for me the absolute dreaded Kardashian example. Famous for your body and what you do with it without any kind of substance to back it up, using it to bankroll a lifestyle. Yeah at first the money is nice but at what point does someone with a conscious and who wants to do good veer away from that?
Surprisingly thought provoking and genuinely interesting this combines the best of what we’ve come to see in female driven comics with the worst of it. However already Jon isn’t wasting time in setting himself and his character apart from the crowd and that alone is cause for celebration and support. I really liked a couple of moments in this issue because they stood out and made a huge impact. One is that when Kristin tries to make herself a new costume and hasn’t the slightest idea of how to properly sew. Not everyone is cut out to physically make clothing, let alone something that will be used to fight in. So seeing her turn to a professional was something I loved seeing. Knowing when to ask or seek out help is a sign of being smart and this gave me hope for her future.
The other is that her own sense of style is still there. She created something that will still garner attention but takes the focus off sex while still keeping her sexy. Plus it has modern elements like her name in the bodysuit. Although i’d love an explanation on how she gets that wig to stay on because as someone who has worn them in the past I know how difficult they can be when you move around a lot. Even Black Canary went to dying her hair after a while. Regardless that this issue, the second of the series, already focuses on her and her self reflection and self-worth brought me to a place that makes me look forward to what’s to come. Less about her crime fighting and more about the woman is a bold direction to take. Though I’m sure we’ll find that the two will integrate and become intertwined as the series continues.
Matthew and Williams work on the interiors are amazing. I love the clean, crisp detail work they bring. The shading and the tone, mood and feel of “classic” comic books shines through each page. It really showcases that you can blend the past and the present together in such a way that makes for exciting future. You don’t have to lose what attracted you to comics art in the beginning to keep things moving in the right direction.
Overground is a place where you can go to get back in touch with the feelings comic books brought you when you first started reading.