Written by Mark Millar
Drawn by Frank Quitely
Published by Image Comics
Here’s a new comic-book miniseries that I’ve been waiting for ever since I first heard about it last December, both because I find the concept intriguing and because Frank Quitley is one of my all-time favorite comic-book artists, especially when he draws superheroes, which I don’t think he does often enough. And while Mark Millar can be hit or miss at times, I discovered him and Quitley at the same time back when they were working on The Authority together, so I had good feelings about this series, and now it’s time to see if it lives up to the hype.
MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD
The book begins in Mexico in 1986, a year which I immediately recognized as significant from Millar’s previous work, as in Wanted that was the year the world’s supervillains defeated all of the superheroes and then wiped all memory of their existence for society, and it was the year Mr. Springfield, the world’s first and only superhuman, appeared in MPH. Sure enough, we quickly see that this book ties into MPH, as agents from America’s top-secret Department of Extra-Normal Operations tracking down a super-powered chimpanzee, and then we get a refresher on the international superhuman Cold War that ended when Reagan and Gorbachev signed an agreement to ban superhuman experiments in the 1980s.
Flashing forward to the present, we’re in South Korea where billionaire scientist Choon-He Chung holds a press conference to announce to the world that she’s discovered how to turn humans into superhumans (or “post-humans”) and intends to launch some kind of competition to find the most altruistic people who she can give superpowers to then save the world…or something. She mentions that she’s a forming a “rescue squad,” but how that will work remains to be seen. But although she’s supposedly the first person to figure out how to create superhumans, the final scene in South Africa shows that there’s already a rogue superhuman in the world, and that individual isn’t afraid to use his powers in the most terrifying of ways, ending this issue on an explosive cliffhanger.
Well, I’m hooked, I can’t wait to see what happens next. If I’m going to single out a flaw it would be in Choon-He Chung’s dialog. Mark Millar tends to write all of his “genius” characters, from Ultimate Tony Stark and Reed Richards to Edison Crane, the same. They all tend to speak in a string of witty one-liners with an air of superiority, that doesn’t always sound particularly authentic. Would this brilliant Korean woman really be referencing Gotham City and Willy Wonka in her speech? It felt a bit forced to me.
As for the art, my only complaint there is that Quitely is only drawing this one issue. But I’ll take what I can get.
The Ambassadors feels like it’s going to be one wild ride, get on board now!