REVIEW: The Almighties #1

There’s a lot of hype around The Avengers right now.  The movie has made over 1 billion and counting at the box office, and is also a hit with critics.  The Avengers is a hotter property than ever.  So The Almighties, this new comic series by the writing team of Sam Johnson and Mike Gagnon (colorist of The Standard!), seems like a particularly well-timed parody piece.

It should be pointed out that the humor is pretty juvenile.  There’s a group of bad guys called F.U.C.A.S. at odds with an organisation called A.N.U.S., for example.  But this had me chuckling like a fiend, so if your sense of humor is like mine, you’re in for a treat!  Not every joke hits the mark – there’s an extended sequence involving some stereotypical gangstas having a chat that did nothing for me aside from reminding me of the pimp powwow in Black Dynamite – but there was definitely more good than bad.  Perhaps my favourite recurring gag involves the character of Stefanos, an overweight kebab chef with no apparent powers whose presence on this elite group of superheroes is a mystery.  It’s a pretty funny bit in itself, but the extreme lengths to which Johnson and Gagnon push this concept are a hoot.  I won’t spoil it!

Though this first issue is mainly played for broad laughs, it should be pointed out that you actually get a whole lot of plot and superhero action for your first issue.  Many comics would decompress the storyline featured here over a whole arc, but not The Almighties.  We get several action setpieces, and indeed a whole story with a three-act structure, including an accessible opening and a satisying resolution to make this a complete, rewarding reading experience in itself.  And in amidst it all, Johnson and Gagnon have time to flesh out most of the cast.  A couple of the team are neglected a bit (I’ll wait for future instalments to flesh out Maxi-Tron and Mason), but Nite-Fang works as a suitably smarmy reader surrogate commenting on the ridiculousness of the whole scenario, while Ms. F is a bit of a scene-stealer as the divorcee who is using her superhero career to work through some man issues, it would seem.

Though I found the writing to be a treat, the visuals are a tad problematic.  Because the art duties are split across multiple artists – Elonara Kortsarz in the first half, and Pablo Zambrano with a little help from D.C. White in the second half – The Almighties #1 struggles to establish a clear visual identity.  The coloring does go some way towards providing a sense of consistency, however.  Gulliver Vianei (another alumni of The Standard!) gives bold, bright colors for the majority of the issue, while Jennifer Scott fits in with the established style pretty seamlessly on her pages.

It may not be the deepest or most profound comic you’ll read this month, but I had a lot of fun with The Almighties. I’d recommend giving it a try.

The Almighties #1 is published by Actuality Press, Rated Teen+, priced $3.99, and is available now at www.thealmighties.com in regular and Limited Edition Avengers Movie poster-parody versions.

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