This is a graphic novel that was funded through Kickstarter, and my copy arrived in the mail today. It was a weird day, and I ended up with some time on my hands at odd moments. So I read the thing cover to cover. (Well, all right, not the whole thing. I’m still looking for my name in the three pages of really fine print listing the supporters.)
This is a superhero story for grownups, where the heroes aren’t heroes anymore. Something has happened to turn all the superheroes in Megalopolis (“The Safest City Anywhere”) into crazed killers.
The story concerns a group of survivors, led by a woman named Mina. They are trying to survive long enough to escape from the city, not realizing that escape is pretty near impossible. Not only are the former heroes hunting them, the other denizens of the city are as well. Some groups have taken to sacrificing people to keep the heroes from killing them. It’s all for one, that one being oneself. I was disappointed when I got to the end. Not that there was anything wrong with the end. It’s just that it was the end.
Gail Simone’s writing and Jim Calafiore’s art are top notch. I’ve not kept up with comics the way I did when I was younger, so I’ve not encountered their work before. I’ll be looking for more of it. For one thing, I’m pretty sure there will be more installments concerning Megalopolis. Not all questions are answered. The ending is something of a cliff-hanger. And there’s that numeral “1” printed on the spine. That was my first clue.
When I pledged the Kickstarter, I was under the impression this was a self-contained graphic novel. I can live with the discovery that it’s not. I just hope I don’t have to wait too long to read the next installment. The backup story written and drawn by Jim Calafiore was a nice addition.
This is not a comic for children. There’s a bit of sex, more than a bit of adult language, and quite a bit of violence. Not to mention blood. The themes and Nina’s backstory deal with serious issues, such as spousal abuse and sacrificing someone else, even someone you love, to save your own skin. Rather than being heavy handed, these themes are naturally worked into the story. The young Mina’s love of a raccoon in the flashbacks show us the wounded child learning that the world isn’t a fair place The panel with her sobbing and saying she doesn’t “want to be anymore” is heart wrenching.
This was money well spent. I’m glad I supported the Kickstarter and will support more from this team. There will be a trade edition, but I don’t know the details about that. I do know the Simone and Calafiore were going to hold off on the electronic edition until after they had shipped all the print editions. Look for it when it becomes available.