Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
In case you missed it last week, I recommend you pick up a copy of J. Torres’ new book, The Family Dynamic, at least if you’re a fan of well-written superhero comics with a traditionalist bent (and that SEEMS to be what people keep on complaining about there not being enough of out there). Heck, even if you’re not a fan of traditionalist superheroics, you should give it a shot for the strong artwork by Tim Levins and the interesting story by Torres.
Very cool Sean Galloway cover, by the way.
The comic is about The Family Dynamic, a superhero quartet who each control a different element. The father (Pyralis) controls fire, the mother (Sirocco) wind and the two sons water (Troylus) and earth (Terran), respectively (by the way, how terrible are those names?). We learn in this issue that this is the second Family Dynamic – the first one was made up of Pyralis’ parents as well as his two uncles (one maternal and one paternal).
Some villain killed Pyralis’ mother, leading to the break-up of the original Family Dynamic, and since the break-up, the same villain has hunted down and killed the two uncles, leaving only Pyralis’ father still alive (and even he has survived two previous assassination attempts).
Their powers come from magic rings.
Meanwhile, Torres has laid some heavy hints that Pyralis’ sister and her daughter are ALSO crime-fighters, just lesser-known one who fight crime powerless, a la Batman and Robin.
This issue drops a load of exposition on the reader, but I think Torres does a nice job diffusing the exposition throughout the comic, so that no one part feels overwrought with exposition.
Tim Levins, meanwhile, does a fantastic job with a style that is cartoony, but not too much so. Torres gives him a decent amount of action to draw, although most of the comic is spent talking rather than fighting bad guys – Levins does well there, too, but he’s definitely better when he can cut loose on action scenes – such energy and vitality!!
This is a great All Ages comic – particularly because it does not PORTRAY itself as being written for kids, which is the sort of approach I think works best – just tell a good, straightforward superhero story and the kids will follow (if the book stays around). I just fear burying it in the Jonni DC section of DC will lead to this title’s disappointing sales. I think this project might do better as an independent comic (although, naturally, I can’t begrudge Torres for taking it to one of the Big Two – a lot more security and publicity at DC), but since it is done, try supporting it a bit!
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