If this were a miniseries, I would say that “The Mighty” has moved too slowly in its opening issues. Peter Tomasi and Keith Champagne have established an out-of-DC-continuity setting in which a Superman-esque hero, a powerful being called “Alpha One,” acts as a superhuman savior, and a team of humans known as “Omega Section” provides ground support. After two issues, we’re still in the slowly-developing stage of finding out who’s who and what this series is going to be about. I can’t imagine that the tension will escalate very quickly anytime soon.
But this isn’t a miniseries. It’s an ongoing, or at least it’s scheduled to be one. And a non-Vertigo, outside-of-the-DCU-proper superhero comic seems to have little chance of long-term survival in this marketplace. Yet this one certainly deserves a chance. I say, let’s support it while it lasts, and maybe enough of us will do that so the series will get a chance to develop fully. So that the seeds planted in the first couple of issues will grow into something majestic.
Because “The Mighty” has plenty of potential. Peter Snejbjerg is an often-overlooked artist, and when he inks himself, as he does here, his clean style offers a different take on what could have been a run-of-the-mill superhero world. Snejbjerg did some great work on another Tomasi project — “The Light Brigade” — and his pencils and inks here are a nice contrast with the relative darkness of “The Mighty.” This series is about the burden of responsibility and the consequences of superhuman intervention, and those weighty issues could be illustrated by someone with a meticulously detailed style (someone like Chris Weston comes to mind), but Snejbjerg’s bold lines and simply defined faces give a sense of brightness and clarity to an admittedly dark subtext. John Kalisz bright and all-too-conventional color palate might go too far in the direction of visual optimism, but Snejbjerg’s work is superb throughout.
Issue #2 explores the ascension of Gabe Cole, former infant celebrity (he was rescued from a car crash that killed his parents, rescued by Alpha One himself), who now finds himself as newly appointed leader of Omega Section.
We get a scene where Alpha One and Cole go into action together, and Cole’s haste leads to the death of a gang of criminals, caught in a crossfire. It’s a scene which foreshadows the end of the issue, in which a stray bullets changes the course of a child’s life.
Tomasi and Champagne seem to be interested in using “The Mighty” to explore ideas about the relationship between those who protect and those who are protected. It’s more than just a superhero action comic — there’s nary a villain in sight, unless the heroes themselves are the villains. Instead, “The Mighty” is about the mechanism of superheroics, and it’s about the people affected by it.
“The Mighty” is about something, and that makes it better than your average superhero tale. And if it’s given a chance to continue for the long term, I suspect it might become something even more.