There is a lot of potential in EGOs, the new Image comic book from Stuart Moore and Gus Storms. After all, we’ve read a lot of far future science fiction comics and we’ve read a lot of superhero comics. What there’s not a whole lot of, however, is far future superhero comics. Not like this one.

twisted far-future epic! An aging hero risks everything to rebuild his former team – but to do so, he must cross a line with his wife that can’t be uncrossed

EGOs is the acronym of the Earth Galactic Operatives. We’re introduced to them via Viggo, the Planetarian, who is sitting on a dead world. He is attempting to work out why it’s dead, just by looking at it: his power. Then, Masse turns up. Masse is a floating red blob, jelly-like, with the possibility of a humanoid shape inside. We’re told the events that followed happened many years ago. We’re looking at a planet orbiting a naked singularity. We’re looking at the big bad; Repliqa. We’re looking at the original EGOs: 7 superheroes who protected the galaxy. Turns out that the leader, Deuce, is telling a large arena audience about what happened next. And then the announcement: an all-new, young EGOs team is being assembled. The heroes are back! But not is all as it seems. Not with Deuce and his relationship with his wife. Not with the story he’s been telling. Not with the faces we’re seeing. While all this is going on, the narration becomes more pointed and more interesting. The narrator is introduced as a dysfunctional individual with an important secret.

So, lots going on. Lots of plot and world-building within the first issue of a comic. Stuart Moore is experienced in telling other superhero stories (JLA, X-Men Origins, Spider-Man and Deadpool amongst others). I wonder if EGOs is his passion? He is familiar with the standard tropes of the super-team and he bends them expertly to his will. Nothing and no-one is as they seem, even though they tend to have the standard comic book names. No guessing what Repliqa planned to use to conquer the universe. So we have The Fear, Opener, Spectrica and others. The trick Moore pulls with the identity of Deuce and the team is genius. I didn’t see that coming at all. There are surface similarities to other left-field superhero teams but this twist is something fresh and new. Moore is clearly enjoying creating this universe and these characters, and the enthusiasm shines through.

Before I paid too much attention to its creator, the artwork and style of the future reminded me of Image Comics’ debris, drawn by Riley Rossmo – art that I loved. I knew this wasn’t by Rossmo, but I knew nothing about Gus Storms, who drew and coloured this comic book. The art is rough, deliberately so. Not quite granular but scratchy and busy. Large panels and colour themed pages dominate. There is a lot of detail – which is very effective in the identity reveal. There is also vagueness. Contrasts. It is a style, like that of Rossmo, which is very effective for Image’s sci-fi canon. While the good guys all look fairly generic, the bad guys – Masse in particular – are highly imaginative. It might not work for those expecting heroes to look like the top guns from Marvel and DC, but within context, I think it couldn’t be better.

As usual with Image, there are a couple of bonus pages at the end of the book, including an interview with both creators and sketches of early character designs.

There have been a lot of reinventions of the superhero in the last few years, both rebooting existing ones and newly created heroes. The EGOs team are among very few that might make you sit up and take notice. Without too much boring exposition, the reader is thrown in and then quickly familiar with this new universe. Moore and Storms have created an immediately interesting comic book with potentially intriguing characters in what I hope will continue to be an interesting and original story.

Title: EGOs

Publisher: Image Comics

Rating: 3.5/5

Reviewer: Ian J Simpson

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