It’s like 1938 all over again


This week saw the release of The Mighty from DC Comics.  While the series is from DC, it is not set on New Earth (or whatever they hell they’re calling it after Final Crisis), but it does feature a hero who might as well be Superman.

Are readers tired of the Superman mythos?  The strongest man in the world protecting those less fortunate than he seems like a great premise, but it really depends on how that character views himself among mere mortals.

themightycover.jpgInstead of being rocketed from a dying world, Alpha One is the result of nuclear testing.  His powers include super strength, flight, super hearing, heat vision, and so on, just like the guy in the red and blue tights.  Those that pay attention to “great moments in comic book history” will recognize the oft overused symbols of the Man of Steel including references to the cover to Action Comics #1, Jimmy Olsen’s watch, popular catch phrases like “more powerful than a locomotive”, and others you’ll have to search out yourself.

Since this is a new character and a new universe, it is a nice homage, but on the other hand, readers don’t know if this ongoing series takes place in one of the yet named multiverse Earth’s or is outside of DC completely.  This then causes the Superman references to fall into the “yeah, we get what you’re doing” category.  I would really like DC to bring back the Multiverse Earth numbering symbol used during Countdown to make things a tad more clear.  My worst fear is that at some point in the future, someone is going to break through the Bleed and we’re going to be subjugated to a major crossover team-up.

This issue does feature the title character, but Alpha One tends to blend into the background, while Section Omega – the private police organization that only serves to back up Alpha One – takes center stage.  I like the explanation of the private task force that cleans up after the hero deals with the big disasters.  The reason for its being is quickly explained, and in a world where there is only one hero, the need for this kind of organization makes sense.

There is an ominous air about the hero, as he’s lived from the 40’s to present day without aging, and when the head of Section Omega dies under mysterious circumstances, it makes me wonder if this series is going to be about the heroic figure, or if it is going to be a mystery featuring the reveal that Alpha One is not as good as we believe.  That feeling is certainly heightened on the final page of the issue, featuring Alpha One hovering above a building spying on the conversation between the occupants.

The protagonist for this series is Lt. Gabriel Cole, who’s worked his way through the ranks of the private police force, and has a mysterious connection to Alpha One.   He’s a likable enough fellow, but the questions about his past seem a little hinky and create even greater mystery for the reader.

And that’s one of the biggest draws for the first issue; readers can instantly figure out how the world is set up and works, but it is the mystery of the characters’ pasts that make you want to continue to read the series.  While this mystery is interesting, the reader is left with a lot of empty holes in the story, which is can become a turn off down the road.

Providing the second issue doesn’t take a downward turn, I’m in for at least six issues to see where everything is going.  I would like to see the pace pick up a bit with at least one major reveal by the end of next issue.  Peter J. Tomasi tells a very good first issue, earning The Mighty #1 3.5 out of 5 Stars.


The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. brainypirate
    February 6, 2009 at 9:01 am — Reply

    > “Are readers tired of the Superman mythos? ”

    As a DC reader, I’ve never been interested in Superman or Batman. Occasional story lines might peak my interest, but I’ve always felt these two characters were given too much weight in the Universe as a whole — for this reason, the Trinity concept that they are metaphysically and mystically the crux of the entire universe is just irritating beyond all get out.

    When the Legion got rid of Superboy, I cheered — I was ready to see these characters on their own, and if Supes showed up occasionally, that was okay, but he didn’t need to be the ONLY non-rotating member of the mag. I had troubles with the JLA for the same reason — no matter who else was in the issue, we knew Supes and Bats were mandatory. And they often hogged all the glory too. Why not make them equal partners with the rest of the team, and let them skip a few missions here and there?

    Sigh… this has been bugging me for years — thanks for inviting us to vent….

  2. Graciela
    February 6, 2009 at 11:17 am — Reply

    I skimmed through your review only because I plan on buying the issue and don’t want it spoiled for me. But 3.5 stars for a first issue isn’t so bad. I really liked Tomai’s writing in the Black Adam mini so I think I will pick it up and give it a try.

  3. ~wyntermute~
    February 6, 2009 at 2:32 pm — Reply

    I like this…. I think I really, truly like this… I agree the SuperReferences do seem a bit “o i c wut u did thar! lulz!”, but if we’re being introduced to Earth-39 (I just picked one at random, I dunno if it’s in use already) it makes sense. If we were told directly what alternearth it may/may not take place on, it would take away from the mystery. Oh, maybe it’s just the Watchgeek in me, but does Alpha-One strike an Ozymandius vibe with anybody else? The merchandising, etc, all funding his efforts to make the world a better place — whatever HE thinks is a “better place”… *cue spooky Dun dun DUNNNN!*

    As for what Brainypirate said, I must also concur somewhat… I’m a bit of a Bat-mark, so I likes me some Bat-goodness wherever I can find it. On the other hand, the Bwahaha-era JLA/JLI is what turned me back onto comics in the 90’s. A team book where the TEAM was emphasized, and not just simply ganging up to face off against So-and-so’s arch nemesis who had finally concocted an earth-shattering-fishcakes.

  4. ~wyntermute~
    February 6, 2009 at 2:34 pm — Reply

    Oops. I misspelled Ozymandias. SHAME ON ME… That is all, and I apologize for the double-post. :D

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