Recently, I read volumes 1 & 2 of THE MIGHTY from DC Comics. I had heard great things about this series from iFanboy.com and after tracking it down (my local comic shops weren’t carrying it) I was able to enjoy a fun, fast-paced alternate Superhero story that I’d heard a lot about. Luckily, the iFanboy crew liked it so much that they didn’t spoil it, so I will do my best to extend the same courtesy.
The Mighty is written by Peter Tomasi and Keith Champagne with art duties being split by Peter Snejbjerg and Chris Samnee. It jumps on the recent influx of comic stories asking the questions: “What if someone had the powers of Superman, but then went bad?” and “How would you stop them if that happened?” as well as “What if Easter Peeps had been made out of Tofu instead of Marshmallow?”
Okay, so that last question isn’t actually asked or answered.
Sure, it sounds very similar to the BOOM! Studios title, IRREDEEMABLE, written by Mark Waid, but there are definite differences which set this series apart. For instance, rather than an ensemble cast, The Mighty focuses mainly on two characters: Alpha One — the world’s first and only superhero. He has a group of handlers, known as Section Omega, who call the hero in when things on Planet Earth start to get too crazy. The main character, Gabriel Cole, has recently taken over as direct handler to Alpha One, and though they are friends, things start to happen which lead to Cole questioning both Alpha One’s motives as well as his sanity. But how does a person who works one on one with the world’s most powerful being investigate an all-seeing, all-knowing superhero?
Volume 1 introduces us to the characters and establishes Cole and Alpha One’s relationship. It’s not until the end of the story that we begin to notice that something is just kind of… y’know… off. Even though art duties are split midway though the volume, the styles are similar enough that it doesn’t become jarring to the reader. John Kalisz’s coloring definitely helps the segue and he does some great, dramatic work on both volumes. His colors are bright when our hero is off saving the world, and the shadows creep in as the tension rises. Come the end of the volume, we’re left with an awesome cliffhanger and lots of unanswered questions. I immediately went hunting for Volume 2, though it took me some time to track down.
In Volume 2 we get glimpses of each character’s history and how intertwined Cole and Alpha One truly are. Beyond that, we learn Alpha One’s true origin, what he’s been up to, as well as his plans for the future. The second volume’s art is handled solely by Chris Samnee, who I’m a big fan of, so the consistency was welcome. Rob Leigh, letterer on both books, does some great ballooning, making it easy to tell who is speaking, and even stylizes Alpha One’s words in a specific way, the reasoning of which is revealed near the end of the story. I also enjoyed Rob’s sound effect work which lets you feel the powerful Alpha One as we follow him through the panels.
Overall, the only places that The Mighty suffers is from not being marketed in one complete volume. Since the story (to my knowledge) is finalized with volume 2, the break between the books wasn’t necessary, and if anything killed the momentum of the story. Had it been released as an OGN, I may have read the entire story in one sitting as it really engrossed me. I’ve never read anything else by Peter Tomasi, though after this, I’d be willing to give some of his other work a shot. He definitely understands how to build a good story, and the pacing was great throughout. He’s great at giving you the information you need, and then immediately switching over to breakneck speed action. Even though the dialog became campy at times during the conclusion, Tomasi is able to tie up loose ends and leave the reader satisfied, though we’re still left wondering about how different our world would be if we had access to Tofu Peeps (not really).
TO SUM IT UP: Your best friend is a Superhero. He’s starting to get a little weird. Prepare for one heck of an awkward conversation.
If you’re a fan of Irredeemable, give The Mighty a shot, and vice versa. Also, if you like to play the Superhero “What If?” game, and speculate on alternate storylines this is also for you.