This is the sort of book that I was a little mystified about when DC released its February solicitations. In an increasingly harsh (and almost hostile) market, why was this series being released by DC Comics? Not part of the “DC Universe” or by huge-selling creators, it seemed more than a little odd to take a chance on a book about a world with a singular super-hero, and the people who interact with him. Now that I’ve read “The Mighty” #1, though, I suspect it got the green light for a very simple reason: it’s really good.
Ever since “Watchmen” debuted over 20 years ago, we’ve seen an increasing number of comics with the basic conceit being that it’s our world but with a limited number of super-heroes. But while Peter J. Tomasi and Keith Champagne’s basic idea for “The Mighty” won’t feel terribly original, where it does stand out is the level of skill brought to the book. The book opens with a three-page sequence showing an old newsreel from the 1950s, before jumping to the present day and an interview with the Captain of Section Omega, the head of the police force assigned to work with the super-hero Alpha One. It’s an effective way of getting a lot of back story into just a few pages, setting everything up the reader needs to know to hit the ground running.
“The Mighty” isn’t really about Captain Shaw, though, or Alpha One. Instead it’s about Gabriel Cole, the second-in-command of Section Omega and how his life changes with his connection to both the police form and Alpha One himself. In just one issue Gabriel Cole already comes across as a fairly well-rounded person, with actual interests outside of work, a real relationship, and a bit of a personality. So often in a new comic the main character is only defined by super-powers (or connection to them), so it’s really nice to see Cole already shaping up to be someone worth reading about.
As for the art, well, let me just say that I am truly impressed. I’ve always liked Peter Snejbjerg’s art on books like “Starman” and “The Books of Magic” but his art has taken a huge leap forward here. His lines are much thinner and finer than I’m used to, and his faces and figures seem just a little rounder and fuller. If you’d shown me these pages and asked me who drew them, my first instinct would have been to say the late Edvin Biukovic (of “Grendel Tales” and “The Human Target” fame), and that’s a compliment of the highest degree. His art fits each scene perfectly, too; he’s able to make Alpha One just radiate strength, from being clad in his boxers and lifting a car, to silently hovering over the city. The panels with Cole and Janet at the bar at the end are so intimate and personal that it’s nothing short of amazing; if this is what Snejbjerg has been doing with his style over the last year, I wish more artists would take the time to make their craft so strong.
I have a bad feeling that “The Mighty” is going to sink without a trace; released with very little publicity, unconnected to any other comic, the prospects for it in this market aren’t promising. At the same time, I really hope it does succeed because this was a great first issue and I want to see more. If you haven’t checked it out, please do. I think you’ll be really pleased.