Still recovering from a tragedy that unfortunately will sound far too familiar, the superpowered students of Phoenix Academy are given a sudden reminder of their trauma, but maybe they aren’t as alone as they think in Ignited #3 from Humanoids.
Script: Mark Waid & Kwanza Osajyefo
Art: Phil Briones
Colors: Andrew Crossley
Letters: A Larger World Studios
Editor: Fabrice Sapolsky
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: Aug. 7th, 2019
SOLICITATION: The lives of six teenagers are changed forever when tragedy, violence and chaos visit their high school. Now the power to restore order is literally in their hands.
Fight the Power? Easier said than done. As the police rush to Phoenix High, Luther Ray joins @viral, @wave and Anouk in their mission to stop weapons from making their way into the school. A new, unexpected ally comes to the rescue, buying the kids some time to organize their defense. But with a bigger threat already looming on the horizon, will superpowers be enough to make a difference?
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Ignited #3 starts off with a bit of time jumping. After a quick scene of a present Himari unleashing her powers on the inventory of a gunshop, we return 3 months into the past to the aftermath of last issue. In the first of a few troubling moments in this book, our heroes are on their knees facing down the barrels of multiple guns, wielded by the police. After some quick action by Shai, the team manages to escape into the woods where they get a quiet moment. They take turns explaining where they were and what happened to them during the school shooting that kicked off their various abilities. They also manage to deduce that they are all suffering from the same inability to tell anyone else their stories about the shooting and that that may have something to do with the same grief counselor they all have visited. But, before they are able to form any real hypotheses about that, they are informed about an incoming pro-gun rally heading to their town to support the plan to arm teachers at the high school.
SOME REAL MISSED OPPORTUNITIES
So much of this issue is devoted to conversation and sharing emotions. This isn’t a problem in itself, unfortunately the writing here misses the mark. As the team shares their respective stories the emotions on display seem to alternate between angsty screaming at the sky (which I admit is understandable) and almost excitement over what had happened to them. The meat of this issue just comes off as shallow. Once you add the bloody imagery to these flashback moments and a truly troubling cover, this issue just feels like its been carefully constructed to pull the most basic reactions from the reader. The reveal of the gun rally coming to town at the end also didn’t sit well with me. It’s just such an obvious choice as the next obstacle for the teens that it feels almost lazy. But, there is a chance the creators do something interesting with it. That’s not to say that Ignited #3 doesn’t have some interesting moments. The opening scene is intriguing and the first hints at a bigger mystery towards the end suggest a more interesting story awaits us as we move further away from the events of the first issue.
SOME NICE TOUCHES
The art is well done. Even though the emotions are limited, they’re clearly expressed on the characters faces. seeing a bunch of guns being folded up like origami was a particularly nice moment. The team’s costumes are nicely designed and look like they’d be something teenage kids could come up with on the fly. The coloring, especially in the forest, is stylized just enough to make it interesting to look at but doesn’t distract from anything else on the page.
BOTTOM LINE: AN OVERLY SIMPLE TAKE ON A COMPLEX ISSUE
Ignited #3 wears its politics on its sleeve just like the rest of the series. By page 3 you know exactly where it stands on the divisive subject of mass shootings and gun control. That isn’t a bad thing, but conveying this stance in simple and cheap ways does its message a disservice and doesn’t make for a fun read.