With only two more issues left — it’s my understanding that this series will end with issue #12 — we finally get the secret origin of Alpha One. The Superman analogue who has instilled terror into those who know of his evil side has an origin similar to that of his fictional predecessor. Like Kal-El, he was sent to Earth in a space ship from a distant planet. Unlike Superman, though, Alpha One was exiled from his home, his hubris had already led to great destruction on his own world, and he was shipped off to Earth as a murderer, a war criminal.
One of the things that makes “The Mighty” so interesting, besides the excellent Chris Samnee artwork, is the way it maintains a kind of dialogue with its own influences. Yes, it’s another of many Superman analogue comics, but it tells its own story within those boundaries, and yet it highlights some iconic Superman-like moments as a way to imbue the series with an added layer of history.
Take the opening scene, for example. A sunny day at the baseball stadium. A man of steel coming in to save the day, pulling a bomb out from beneath the playing field, rescuing thousands of fans. But as iconic as that scene is, everything is a bit off kilter. Alpha One enters the sequence with a baseball bouncing off his face, not his chest, and his violent dive down through the pitcher’s mound to get the bomb is less dignified than what you might see from Superman.
And, of course, it comes as no surprise that Alpha One planted the bomb himself, risking the lives of the innocent players and fans because, as he says, “I need these people to trust me completely.” In his skewed logic, his devious acts ensure just such trust.
Yet while most of the world sees Alpha One as a savior, Gabriel Cole knows the truth, and his investigation into his boss’s villainy leads to some revelations in this issue. In his Sanctuary — his Fortress of Solitude — Alpha One has been playing God, manipulating DNA and breeding an army of superhumans to help save the planet. That’s his screwed-up justification for his evil deeds, anyway, and with only two issues left, there doesn’t seem to be much hope that anyone can stop him.
“The Mighty” continues to be one of the best DC comics that you’re not reading. I just hope it gets a nice collected edition so you can see what you’ve been missing.