So the series comes to an end.
I have to give DC credit for publishing an out-of-continuity series under the “DC” logo without any big-name creators attached. Chris Samnee, who took over the pencils and inks after the first few issues, deserves to be a big-name creator. But he’s not yet. And a series like this didn’t really stand much of a chance of long-term survival against the Reigny Darkness and Nights That Are Ever So Black. Because for all of its superhero trappings, “The Mighty” was a small story about a man and his enemy. And it has been a good one.
Comparisons between this comic and Mark Waid’s “Irredeemable” have been difficult to ignore. They both came out around the same time, and they both deal with a Superman gone bad. But, of course, they can’t call the guy “Superman.” But we all know that’s who this broad-shouldered populist hero is supposed to be. Yet Waid has taken his series in a direction which opens it up — he’s continually expanded the cast, and the scope, into something about the world in which his characters exist. This series has always been about Gabriel Cole and his struggle against Alpha One.
So even if this series wasn’t launched with an announcement of “Look! A Twelve-Issue Maxi-Series from DC!” Well, that’s really what it was. That’s what it has been structured like, with a simple plot that weaves back and forth, but not the kind of layered subplots that you’d expect from an ongoing. But that kind of simplicity has worked in its favor, and the art has complemented it well, with Chris Samnee’s bold, bulky compositions capturing the physicality of these characters and the clean design providing an interesting contrast to the dark morality within.
In issue #12, we basically get the long-awaited fight scene between Cole and Alpha One. Though the evil Superman’s plan has involved helping humanity become superhumanity, he hasn’t really done all that much to further that agenda other than to capture some specimens and keep them hidden (and experimented upon) in his hidden fortress. But by this issue, Cole has acquired the power of a superman, and his confrontation with his nemesis is a nearly-even physical match-up. But unlike Alpha One, Cole doesn’t underestimate his foe. And he’s got good old human ingenuity on his side.
The series concludes here, but it keeps a window open through which future stories might drift back in. I don’t think that’s likely to happen — and Chris Samnee will be doing bigger and higher-profile things soon enough (“Siege: Embedded” is but a taste of what he’s capable of) — and these twelve issues of “The Mighty” will make a handsome collected edition. Nothing revolutionary. Nothing that will change the way you look at the world. But this has been a good story, told with some surprises, and plenty of craft.