If I offered you a drug that would give you super powers, would you take it? Assuming you believed it did what I said, how could you not? It worked for Underdog and Hourman. But what happens when the effects wear off? How far will you go in chasing that initial high? How much would you give up for that feeling of power? Find out after the jump.
Previously in Fly: The Fall: Francis, Eddie and his girlfriend Danielle were your average teens–hanging out, feeling alienated, doing a narcotic called “Fly” designed by Francis’ father that gave them super powers. When they grew up, Francis became a Big Pharm tycoon/drug dealer, Danielle became a super-powered addict and Eddie wound up in a homeless shelter where he met his new girlfriend, Mary. Also of note, in this world there is at least one drug-free super hero, referred to by the name “Hero”, who killed Francis’ father. In recent issues, Danielle, the ultimate crazy, abusive girlfriend, has tracked down Eddie while Francis has tightened his grip on the drug world and took revenge on Hero by killing his wife.
STRETCHED TO THE POINT OF NO TURNING BACK
This is the first Zenescope comic that I have read and honestly I didn’t know just what to expect but it wasn’t this. This is a bold book that uses the super hero genre to explore drug addiction and co-dependency. It’s clear that the author, Raven Gregory, has some experience dealing with addiction because the scenes and dialog ring true in ways that the standard “very special episode” would bungle. And then it has super powers to give it more fantasy without making it any less serious. It’s a bit of a downer, sure, but it’s supposed to be and I think it stops short of wallowing in the misery.
This is issue #3 of the second volume of this comic. The first volume apparently covered the main characters as teens when they started using the drug and this one is more the aftermath. This issue does not dwell on catching up new readers (“Hello Vision, my fellow Avenger who happens to be an android with the following powers: flight, …”) yet I wasn’t completely lost coming in. It did feel somewhat like I tuned in to a movie after it started but not like I was tuning in to the last episode of Lost.
The characters could easily be melodramatic and cartoony, but Gregory manages to create reasonable characters. OK, well not exactly reasonable, but characters with understandable motivations that direct their choices and actions, even if those motivations are completely f’ed up. One of the first, cheapest shortcuts that writers take is to have a character do something because it will move the plot forward instead of for a specific reason related to that character in their current situation. The characters here largely avoid that shortcut, although I am suspicious about the motivations for Mary in falling for Eddie in his homeless condition. There are hints, however, about a rich backstory for Mary that might explain this so for now I’m willing to give Fly the benefit of the doubt.
CAN’T KEEP MY EYES FROM THE CIRCLING SKY
Being a Zenescope book, let me address the elephant in the room: the gore and the boobs. Even discounting the covers, there are some gruesome images in this issue, but as these things go, they’re not too bad and are appropriate to the story. As for the cheesecake, this issue has very little (again I’m giving he cover a pass, considering it marketing rather than storytelling), although I checked out the previous issue and noted that there was a lady scientist dressed in a manner that would get concerned memos from Human Resources. Having some eye candy isn’t a sin, but I’m hoping that over the course of the series they recognize that too much would distract from the serious themes of the book.
Otherwise, the art has an occasionally wonky face or angle but largely avoids the failings that I’ve been running into recently. Character designs are distinct and clear (Although I’m not sure if Francis’ freckles were supposed to remind me of Jimmy Olsen). Most importantly, the facial expressions change from panel to panel and match the emotion of what’s going on/being said. The fight scenes are competent–not terribly ambitious but solid. The action makes sense and progresses from panel to panel. It may sound like I’m damning this book with faint praise, but it’s surprising how often these seeming “basics” are botched by professional artists. Bottom line, I liked the art
THE BOTTOM LINE: You will believe a man can fly
I give Fly: The Fall #3 three and a half stars—even though it’s not my usual style of reading, it is a good book. If you want pure escapism, this isn’t your best bet, but if you want to see a super hero story told with gritty realism that is both gritty and realistic, give this a try.
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!