Written by JOHN LEES
Art by JONATHAN RECTOR
Color by RAY DILLON & MO JAMES
Letters by KEL NUTTALL
Edited by STEVEN FORBES
Here’s an oddity — an independent superhero comic that doesn’t suck.
The Standard is the world’s first superhero. Originally born when scientist Gilbert Graham was involved in an accident involving a meteor crashing into his lab (don’t you just hate when that happens), the original Standard has retired. In his stead, Alex Thomas, his former sidekick, has stepped in to take up the mantle and continue to save lives and inspire humanity.
But Thomas is something of a sub-par successor to Graham. The Standard is now more a corporate franchise than a superhero. Colognes, advertising campaigns, and television shows all now bear the name and image of the Standard. In a word, Alex is what you might call a sellout. In his own eyes, he is also a failure. Having promised the mother of a missing child that he would find her daughter, he was yet to do so, and he won’t let himself forget it.
Much of this issue is split between focusing on the early adventures of the original Standard and his sidekick (then known as Fabu-Lad), and the present-day life of Alex Thomas. The former part of the story very much has a Silver Age feel to it, both in the scripting and in the art, while the latter part seems to be steeped in more modern, gritty, and down-to-earth sensibilities. (I’d also argue that there is some subtle commentary here on the major differences between the superheroes of the Silver Age and those of the modern day, but that might just be my brain seeing this that aren’t there — I’ll stop digressing now before this gets out of hand.) It is a testament to the overall quality of the work that the two worlds seem to mesh effortlessly.
The art is generally excellent, with only a few slip-ups in the penciling department. The colors are outstanding, and the scripting is good.
Now on to the complaints:
Don’t get me wrong — this is a very good comic, and I definitely recommend it. However, it is not without its problems. Namely, the ending. I don’t know that I can give it away without spoiling the book, but suffice it to say that it is unexpected and, to say the least, oddly executed. I feel that it could have been set up earlier on in order to heighten the impact, and certainly could have been given a little more breathing room than it was.
All that being said, this comic is great, and I highly recommend it.