PREVIEW: Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Universe Presents: The Atom"
Here’s a stunning piece of information. The latest issue of AdHouse Books’ Superior Showcase has, among the three stories, a BRAND NEW Street Angel story. That’s not the stunning part. The stunning part is that the Street Angel is not nearly the best story in the issue – HAVE I BLOWN YOUR MIND?
If not, then
The whole shbang is wrapped in a brand new Roger Langridge cover, which is awesome (it is a gatefold cover – but I can’t find the full cover anywhere – someone help!).
The last (and, comparatively, the worst – PLEASE NOTE THAT IT IS ONLY WORST COMPARATIVELY!) is Dustin Harbin’s Kid Medulla story…
Kid Medulla is a nine-year old named Nelson Nolan who gains the ability to control people’s minds. He uses his powers to go on patrol around his neighborhood, and he gets into various amusing mischief.
The most notable one is when he meets his former first grade teacher, a very attractive young woman who Norman does not know what he wants to force her to do with his mind control power. Harbin shows the conflict in the nine-year-old mind of Norman until he ends up with…making her fart a lot.
It is quite silly and gross (there is a LOT of farting), but it is a cute silly/gross story.
Street Angel is a homeless super-heroine, described in all her comics as :
Orphan of the streets and skateboarding daughter of justice, Jesse Sanchez fights a never-ending battle against the forces of evil, nepotism, ninjas and hunger as STREET ANGEL!
As for the comic itself, well, Jim Rugg’s artwork is awesome, as always, and the story from Brian Maruca and Rugg is good, but it probably not the best comic to get someone into the joys of Street Angel. It is still a fun story, though, opening with a hilarious bit about horror films (they see one of those films like Scream where the killer calls up the victims – Angel’s friend, Bald Eagle (a legless, one-armed guy who gets around on a skateboard) tells her “but you don’t own a phone, so you’re safe” but what happens when a payphone rings?
The rest of the comic takes place in a hospital, where some evil creature is hunting down ninjas in the hospital (while Bald Eagle is hunting up food to steal).
Perhaps it was the constraints of the story length (it is only 10 pages), but for whatever reason, the story seemed to be missing a lot of the brilliant non-sequitur humor of the original series, as three pages of fighting would be totally okay in a 22-page story – but in a 10 page story? That’s a whole chunk of the comic right there (although the fight was drawn well).
The story reads a lot like a prelude, so hopefully it is leading to a new Street Angel mini-series. That would ROCK.
Then we come to Laura Park’s story, which was the most impressive story of the issue…
The story detailed the inspiring life of a brother and sister whose living environment is not exactly wonderful. The girl, who looks to be about 10 or so, has to take care of both herself and her younger brother, as their mother appears to be MIA (the bit where she tells her brother their mother must have left before they woke up because her bed was already made – BRUTAL).
The girl has a deformity with her ear, so kids call her a freak, so her little brother (who appears to be about 7 or 8) fights for her honor.
It’s obviously a complex and delicate relationship, and Park delivers this situation beautifully. Her artwork, on its own, is strong – but her storytelling abilities are quite striking, as she eschews dialogue a lot in the comic, using body language and facial expressions to tell the story – and tell it well.
One part of the story where I differ with Park is that she never actually shows the deformity. I certainly don’t expect it to be made a big deal, and she’s definitely right that it is better not making a big production of showing the deformed ear. However, there is a couple of panels where the girl is showering and preparing for bed – that, to me, would have been a perfect opportunity to give us a quick glimpse of the deformed ear, done in a matter-of-the-fact manner, but still getting across what the reality of this girl’s situation is.
Anyhow, the girl (whose name is Ada, by the way – her brother is named Calum) tells this wonderfully cute story to her brother about his “super powers.” Such a delightful scene.
Another part of the story I question is when Ada chastises Calum for reacting to a dumb comment (a boy calling her a freak), and Calum gets angry. Later, she apologizes for calling him dumb, and in the dialogue, it really seems like Calum thinks she called him dumb and that Ada thinks she called him dumb. but she clearly did not do so. So I do not know – is that a mistake on Park’s part, or is she saying that Calum misunderstood Ada and Ada decided to, I dunno, play along? Beats me…but it took me out of the story for a bit, so I think it would have been better to just have her call him dumb (as in, “it was dumb of you to react to his insult”). I think that would have been better for the story.
Ada’s good spirits in the face of their troubled life is just so inspiring, and the artwork on Ada is wonderful (her facial expressions alone).
Finally, the story ends with a truly awesomeragous piece of characterization between brother and sister. Sooo good.
Laura Park impresses with the ability in both her writing and her artwork to get across complex relationships in an inspiring short story that stands out in this all-together great issue of Superior Showcase.
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