COMIC REVIEW: America’s Got Powers Issues 1 and 2

Jonathan Ross is a strange case. A couple of years ago many outside of the UK would know him simply as a British celebrity who was a huge fan of comic books. I am a huge Ross fan and think he is hilarious.

Therefore when Turf was released I assumed that there would be nothing better for me. The man clearly understood the comic medium as his BBC 4 TV show In search of Steve Ditko showed. Unfortunately what we got with Turf seemed very amateur, a person who has read so many comic books yet was not letting the art breathe.

A medium that should be a marriage of words and pictures, the art failed in Turf with his words engulfing the pictures. Thankfully America’s Got Powers is not like this and instantly shows that the man is learning and honing is craft.

America’s Got Powers is superheroes meets Battle Royale or The Killing Games. A meteor hit earth and any woman who was pregnant at the time had a kid with superpowers. However one boy, Tommy, seems powerless. There was only one way to deal with this of course. Make a reality TV show of them fighting each other to the death! The winner gets a spot on the super team.

Looking at America’s Got Powers as a learning curve for Ross, he has definitely understood when to reign in his writing and let the art do the talking. If this had not happened it would have been a travesty to see Bryan Hitch’s stunning work covered. This could be the subtle change in comparison to TurfAmerica’s Got Powers states that the story is by the two of them and therefore Hitch may have helped Ross master this craft. A good idea for Ross to learn from one the medium’s master’s of storytelling. The colours are bright and exuberant. They are stunning to look at and compliment Hitch’s artwork beautifully.

Unfortunately the plot in issue one is lacklustre. The initial concept is cool and innovative but little happens and the twist at the end is obvious from the first page. It is a good thing that the concept is so interesting and the zeitgeist for now because it is what will keep you here. The plot is poorly executed at its most important time. A comic must make you want to see what happens next after issue 1 and the end does not do that. You are still intrigued enough to buy issue 2 but you have made little connection to the characters as of yet.

Issue Two continues to build on the concept. It is clear that Ross is a big fan of Alan Moore and implements a Watchmen tactic by giving us extra detail such as letters from characters on the spare pages. I think this always works really well and gives the universe that you are trying to develop more depth. Ross and Hitch expand the world of Tommy, making him more relatable and adding greater intrigue. He comes off more as a Clark Kent character who has to hold back from doing what he can in case he hurts someone. The therapy scene is clever and works well. Unfortunately again the end is lacklustre, although more interesting ideas are brought in to the mix.

America’s Got Powers is a slow burner. Ross’ writing is getting better and better while Hitch remains at his usual high standard. The colouring and lettering remain strong too. It would seem that there might be something worth keeping an eye on with America’s Got Powers as it slowly builds. It has yet to draw you in and not let go, but it is niggling away at you to continue to read on.

Rating: 3 ½/5
Reporter: Luke Halsall

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