COMIC REVIEW: America’s Got Powers, Issue 3

So far, America’s Got Powers by Jonathan Ross and Bryan Hitch has been somewhat of a slow burner. The concept is clever and the art is stunning. There have been tantalizing morsels that may have kept you coming in for more, giving the impression that it is going to be worth the pay off.  Unfortunately, the pay off is yet to come. The story revolves around looking into the people with powers. They are being studied by the government, who are moving their powers into those they can trust such as marines. Meanwhile they are still intrigued by Tommy, who may have unlimited power. So the games continue…

The page layouts look stunning with the beautiful artwork by Bryan Hitch. Page one is a very clever mock-up front cover of Time magazine. You can see that Ross is highly influenced by Alan Moore as this book has continued to have what I would refer to as Watchmen like pages: mock-up newspaper articles, prose etc building up the world that these characters live in. This technique works very well and helps to make this world feel more real, richer than it may have done without them.

Ross’ writing is improving issue to issue. At one moment in this issue he seems to be on the verge of developing a style that mimics the silver age, yet he has managed to update it to the modern world. He has embodied the narrative style we often saw in the 1960s and adapted it to make it work for today’s generation. Hitch’s widescreen movie like style suits this book perfectly. With many of the scenes meant to be shown on television, you really get a sense that you could have switched on the TV and found this on one of the many channels that show reality TV.

The issue is entertaining with an interesting twist at the end. Unfortunately, there just does not feel like enough material to really warrant this being a full issue. It is more like we have read the first eleven pages as a teaser and we are waiting to see the rest of the issue when it is properly released. All the splash pages for the fights look stunning, but it just feels that some of these could have been condensed to fit in more story. It is an ironic twist of fate for Ross, where arguably his first comic attempt, Turf, there was too much going on in every page and could have done with the space he has given to this book to breathe and let the material speak. It would be nice to see whether Ross could attempt to get a happy medium between the two. It is not to say that these pages do not work, they simply do not work in a comic book medium where the issues are more episodic than anything else. If I read these pages as part of the graphic novel that this is bound to become it would work very well. It is a shame that comic creators often only think about the graphic novel instead of realising that they have to cater to the people who buy it monthly as well. Ross and Hitch are obviously only thinking about the future graphic novel, negating to realise there is a slight, subtle difference between the two.

Further, although the fight scenes are interesting, it is getting to the stage where you are starting to wonder how the creative team will make them different? Just like with Britain’s Got Talent where after the audition process people start to get bored. If these fight scenes continue on in most of the later issues Ross and Hitch will have to do something special in them rather than just have the cliff-hanger twist at the end of the book.

Overall America’s Got Powers continues to be the slow burner we saw in issues 1 and 2. There are some nice wee touches and again an interesting cliff-hanger but there is still no meat on the bone for you to get your teeth into. Still worth hanging on, but it is becoming more and more clear that this has been written as a graphic novel that is being released episodically rather than a comic book that will later be collected together. Worth reading, but it is not something you will be clambering to get your hands on.

GS Rating:
3 ½ out of 5
GS Reporter: Luke Halsall

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