Saturday, 14 November 2015

Review: The Almighties #0

Indie comic creator Sam Johnson collaborates with fellow writer Mike Gagnon for this latest offering, The lmighties #0. The book is Actuality Press' deranged answer to super-team comics and contains numerous fun moments although isn't without its flaws. As most zero issues are, this book is mostly concerned with set-up and introduction; we get to meet each of the key team members, learn about their origins and get a hint as to where the plot of this book may go in future issues. Johnson and Gagnon hit all their plot threads with efficiency, although admittedly there's little new about this approach of introducing team members one by one. Its been done many times before and is somewhat formulaic.

That being said the issue is engaging, and although the characters are mostly obvious parodies of well-known super-heroes they show promise to come into their own as this series progresses. The most compelling is probably Ms. F who seems more grounded than her wackier team-mates making her easier to connect with, and her current situation which sees her struggling to find a place in the world after leaving a long, unhappy marriage is something I'm sure many people could relate to. The relationship between her and retired super-hero The Kruncher is genuinely believable, making these two characters quite possibly the standouts of this debut.

The Almighties is as you would expect a comedy book and indeed there is some fun quipping to be had here and a bizarre final page reveal which is very much reflective of this book's tongue-in-cheek nature. That being said not all the jokes hit the mark and some don't land quite as well as they were intended, particularly those in the Wayne Winston segment of the issue. Winston is The Almighties answer to Deadpool and so naturally has the strangest origin story and scenes in this book. I felt like Johnson and Gagnon were really working hard to sell this character to me, but by the issue's end I still feel apprehensive about accepting yet another Deadpool parody. The market for Deadpool-esque characters just feels saturated at the moment, and I'm not sure if there's much here to set Winston apart from other eccentric mercenaries currently trying to make names for themselves.

Although Actuality's comic-book universe is very young, it does have a lived-in feel to it which is nice. Events and characters are referenced which help build a history for this world without making it feel bogged down in continuity. While I felt the Wayne Winston segment of this book was one of the weaker parts, I did like the idea of Subterrannea: the underground world which he and his family call home. The nature of the environment and its creepy inhabitants were a fun addition to the Actuality world, one that I hope develops and comes into play again further down the line as there's a lot of potential for cool stories to take place there.

The issue is illustrated by five different artists - Pablo Zambrano, Eleonora Kortsarz, Ron Gravelle, Fran Jung and Graham Pearce - with each doing a solid job even if some were stronger than others. The panel layouts weren't the most original I've ever seen however I'm aware that only so much can be done on an indie comic budget. Generally I enjoyed the art, and felt that the different styles were well-suited to their respective characters e.g. a more realistic style for the grounded Ms. F, a more cartoonish style for the insanity of Wayne Winston. It was a nice touch which helped establish separate identities for each of Johnson and Gagnon's characters.

Overall, The Almighties #0 was a solid debut for Actuality Press' new team of heroes. It wasn't a flawless opening chapter with some flat punchlines here and there, and some characters that require more fleshing out. That being said this series does have a lot of potential, and I'm interested to see where it goes next. You can check out some preview pages below.

The Almighties #0 Wayne Winston Variant Edition is out now - along with a chance for newcomers to catch up on the team's debut adventure in The Almighties #1 2nd Printing – both available at

Preview: The Almighties #0

(click to enlarge)


Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.