The Mighty #1


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The Mighty #1


  • Words: Peter J. Tomasi & Keith Champagne
  • Art: Peter Snejbjerg
  • Inks: Peter Snejbjerg
  • Colors: John Kalisz
  • Story Title: The New World
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Feb 4, 2009

Alpha One is the world's only superhero. The agency responsible for his non-superheroic affairs, Section Omega, faces a crisis of leadership, in the new ongoing title, The Mighty.

As the audience for superheroes has aged, the camera lens has shifted toward the "real world" ramifications of super-powered beings, and The Mighty #1 is the latest entry into an already crowded sub-genre of superheroes. The superhero in question is Alpha One, a product of a nuclear test in 1952. He is the one and only super-powered hero and hasn't aged a day since the event that gave him his powers. In a refreshing twist, Alpha One is not the focus of the book, not at all the protagonist. The story, intelligently crafted by Peter J. Tomasi and Keith Champagne, instead focuses on Section Omega, the "independently funded, nationwide police force dedicated exclusively to Alpha One." The funding for the agency comes from licensing and media income from the celebrity image of Alpha One.

The main character of the book is Gabriel Cole, second in command at Section Omega. There are hints to a past with Alpha One, likely Cole being rescued by the hero in an event that cost him the life of his parents. Cole is a likable sort, with a lovely fiancée and a humble soul. The status quo is about to change for him as he is faced with a decision that will thrust him into the highest profile role in Section Omega.

The word "mature" gets thrown around comics and has a coded meaning. In general it means you will find nudity or graphic violence or foul language in the content of the title. The Mighty includes none of these things, but is a very mature treatment of its subject. Without shouting, or testing the limits of Judeo-Christian morality, Tomasi and Champagne create in one issue an interesting background, plot and characters. The maturity comes from the realistic fears and anxieties of these very real people, dealing with the fantastic element of Alpha One, who is almost entirely off-screen. I won't go so far as to say that this theme hasn't been done in comics, certainly Marvels comes to mind, but it’s by far the least pretentious treatment I've read.

The continuity of this series exists outside of the DC Universe, which makes it very accessible, and Alpha One seems directly derived from Superman, as the dialogue even references "more powerful than a locomotive." This is an honest and calmly interesting portrayal of people living in a world with a single hero. I don't get the sense that this will devolve into a satire of comics, or a deconstruction of the comics medium. I look forward to reading about Gabriel Cole and his mysterious past and how he handles his new role.

Peter Snejbjerg's art suits the tone of the story. He draws people in a pleasing, naturalistic fashion without the slam, bang conventions of standard superhero fare. His Vertigo and Starman pedigree make him ideal for this more realistic portrayal. The cover by Dave Johnson is fantastically minimalist and beautiful. Limited in color and details, it is the perfect mirror to the understated yet fascinating story contained within its pages.

The Mighty #1 is an excellent debut for a title that begs for a truly mature audience. Launched with little fanfare, I hope the word of mouth is positive and this book stays around long enough for Tomasi and Champagne to tell their story.

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