America's Got Powers #3

Story by
Art by
Jason Paz, Paul Neary, Bryan Hitch
Colors by
Paul Mounts
Letters by
Chris Eliopoulos
Cover by
Image Comics

Now that the premise has been solidified and the characters established, the third issue of "America's Got Powers" by Jonathan Ross and Bryan Hitch proves pivotal to the overall story. Now that the pieces have been set up, the time has come to start knocking them down as a series of revelations about the games and the people running them are revealed to the reader -- and they're not pretty.

Similarly, the twist that ends this issue is well set up and executed in a way that changes the focus of the series. As a plot development, it's unpredictable and nicely wrong-foots the audience's expectation that Tommy's powers will emerge at just the right time to save him -- or, in fairness, that's what would have happened had the actual twist not been spoiled by the solicitations some months ago. Even so, it's something that any fresh reader won't see coming, and it's a compelling introduction to the next act of the story that makes Tommy even more valuable to those in charge.

As Ross' sophomore effort, "America's Got Powers" is noticeably more polished than "Turf", and displays a bit more of Ross' sense of humor, satirising the media and celebrity. However, it's also thick with sci-fi ideas. There are concepts in every issue that you could hang the entire plot around, but Ross has instead woven them all into a single tapestry. It gives the book a fast pace and a unique tone.

Bryan Hitch's artwork is, of course, responsible for just as much of the book's success as Ross' confident writing. Hitch's love of double page spreads makes the book a difficult read digitally, but it gives it the cinematic scope an action comic like this needs. Especially in crowd scenes and games sequences, it's clear just how strong Hitch's storytelling capabilities are. Where lesser artists crumble, he manages the flow of a page like a genuine master.

The only real complaint you can level at this issue of "America's Got Powers" (besides matters of taste) is the delay that preceded it. A double-length first issue at regular price was impressive, but if it means a 3 month wait between issues 2 and 3, something's gone wrong. No-one wants to see Hitch replaced, but a book with this many ideas gains nothing from such huge gaps.

Still, it is ultimately a complimentary complaint, and "America's Got Powers" remains surprisingly overlooked, given the talent on it and the quality of each issue. If you haven't tried it, now's the time to get on board.

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