Or – “Will She Be The Weakest Link?”

Idolized #1 introduced us to Leslie, a young hopeful with super-powers and a dream, vying for a coveted spot in the world’s greatest superteam!  Of course, first she has to win the reality competition and not get killed.  Oh, and there’s also a little matter of some skeletons in her closet as well…  Your Major Spoilers advance review awaits!

*Idolized #2 goes on sale September 26th, 2012!

IDOLIZED #2
Writer: David Schwartz
Artist(s): Micah Gunnel & Pasquale Qualano
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: Josh Reed
Editor: Vince Hernandez
Publisher: Aspen Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, in Idolized:  Joule isn’t your average wannabee teen star.  Unlike most of the contestants on “Superhero Idol,” she wants more than just fame, fortune and her face in the tabloids.  Does she really have the drive to become the next Superhero Idol, or will she end up flaming out and working on the super-Kardashians?

A WELL-WORN SCHTICK.

The comics industry tends to go in cycles.  In the 1970s, there was a sudden undercurrent of for-profit superheroes, which led into the 1980s corporate hero boom.  By the 90s, it seemed that all the corporate heroes were now government agents, and in the early part of the new century, everyone was being HUNTED by the government.  These days, the superhero-as-media-star is all the rage, as seen in America’s Got Powers, Noble Causes, Wildguard: Casting Call and the like, but Idolized seems to be a little different.  Last issue made me like Leslie, the young superhuman known as Joule, and to even identify with her struggles.  Issue #2 isn’t quite as pleasant an outing for our heroine, though, as she focuses exclusively on her work and winning the competition, which is a double-edged sword.  It does set her aside from the bubble-headed types who want only to be famous (of which there are many on display this issue, including one girl who worries that her costume will make her wings look big) but it makes her seem very selfish and callous to her fellow competitors.  There are the standard-issue greedy, heartless producers, as well as more than one love interest in the issue, to try and spice things up.  I think my biggest problem with the issue came with the mid-issue appearance of a holographic image of Stasis, the character whose actions drive Joule on her path, as she spends several panels thinking about the best way to keep herself under control, then immediately flies off the handle in a rage.

IT’S A GOOD-LOOKING BOOK…

I admit to being drawn to issue #1 by the stunt-casting of Arthur Adams on the cover art, but the interiors were very strong work, and that continues here.  Gunnel & Qualano make sure that our heroine has a distinct face and body-language, and most of the characters are easily distinguished from one another.  Facial expressions are well-done throughout the book, especially in the confrontation between the future Joule and the faux-Stasis.  While I am a fan of the art, I’m not particularly enamored of the coloring, as the parts of the issue that take place at night are muddy to the point of distraction, while Joule’s power displays are just a little bit too bright and lens-flarey even for my tastes.  The issue ends with a pretty strong surprise swerve (which I’m not even going to hint at, because I am mean) and all in all, I’m interested enough that I’m definitely picking up #3.  When you’re dealing with a premise this familiar, you have to have something strong to hang the story onto, and the characterization of Joule manages to effectively keep it from becoming all cliche.  Some of the discussion of the relative merits of reality television feels very shopworn, but overall it’s an entertaining book.

THE BOTTOM LINE: NOT BAD AT ALL…

All in all, there’s a lot of good stuff going on here, overcoming my biased expectations of what to expect from both a comic about a reality TV show, and from Aspen as a publisher.  Idolized #2 keeps up the good work, delivering a story with a nice hook, avoiding some big pitfalls and delivering strong art throughout, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I have to say that I’m kind of impressed with the simple yet distinctive costume design that we see on the cover as well, as it’s very hard to create a truly unique-looking character after 80 years of superhero hijinks, so kudos is due there as well…

Rating: ★★★½☆

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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