Written by Mark Millar
Drawn by Frank Quitely
Published by Image Comics
Okay, now that Millar has wisely changed his tune about digital distribution, he’s no longer waiting 3 months to release his creator-owned comics digitally after they’ve been published in print. So let me catch up on his latest alleged epic.
With open with a flashback in 1932. Sheldon Sampson was the son of a rich family that lost everything in the Great Depression, yet he remained an idealist and just wanted to help America recover. He started having visions of some kind of mysterious Island in the middle of the ocean and somehow convinced his brother Walter and few friends to come along with him in search of it. The hire a boat and make it to the Island. We don’t know what happened next but the group emerged as superheroes, the donned costumes went out to save the world. Flash-foward to 2013. Sheldon has fought crime for decades as The Utopian, alongside his wife Wanda, the fellow superhero Lady Liberty. They’re traditional heroes, still maintaining secret identities and fighting supervillain, but not getting involved in world affairs. But their grown children, Brandon and Chloe are more interested in partying and being celebrities than using their powers (which are unclear, although Brandon mentions having superhearing) to be superheroes, much to the disappointment of their parents.
Then we cut to a major superhero battle, with Utopian and Lady Liberty leading a bunch of young heroes against a major supervillain. Walter is there too (no code name is mentioned), and we get a glimpse of his powers, which appear to be mentally-based, as he comes up with a rather creative way to distract the villain, so that Utopian can physically restrain him. Walter’s adult son Jules is there, but just hangs out in the background to avoid the fight. Then Sheldon and Walter get into an argument, as Walter believes that they should start using their powers to really start changing the world, instead of just fighting supervillains, but Sheldon is pretty inflexible in that regard. It’s clear that this is an argument that the brothers have been having for a long time. And then back at her house, we see Chloa, Sheldon and Wanda’s daughter, doing cocaine with a couple of other nameless superheroes, until she apparently overdoses and crashes through a table.
A decent enough first issue, although not exactly ground breaking. It’s pretty much a typical generational clash between adults and children, it’s just that these people have superpowers. There’s a lot of random characters in colorful costumes around, but we don’t get any information about most of them, so I can’t really care about any of them yet. But Quitely’s artwork here is some of his best. I understand that he has a unique style that is not to everyone’s taste, but if you are a fan you should love it here. He continues to be a master at drawing little character moments in the background of his panels. Together he and Millar make a good team. We’re off to a good (but not great) start.