The term “there’s never been anything quite like it in the superhero genre” is something that gets thrown around a lot. The problem is that it’s rarely true and when it is it’s more of a statement for a single issue rather than an entire series. The thing about Bryan JL Glass and Victor Santos’ Furious is that the above statement is absolutely true, but because it’s such a buzz statement or pull quote cliché you have to think of another way to describe it. It’s a difficult task because I don’t know of another superhero title that has a character quite like Furious… or a world quite like the one she lives in. In fact we still don’t even know that much about her. Unlike other superhero titles that obsess over the origin story, Furious has been obsessed with establishing Furious aka Cady Lark’s personality. Sure there’s an origin story of sorts, but the focus isn’t on how Lark received her powers; instead it’s about how Lark threw away fame and became a secret superhero.
There is of course a mystery to her powers and in this issue she learns a little about them, but that is the charm of this series… she doesn’t know. She doesn’t seem to know how she flies or how she can take a bullet, but she learns and studies and uses practical mathematics at times to figure out what she’s doing. PRACTICAL MATHEMATICS IN A COMIC BOOK! Brilliant.
Let’s talk about this issue though.
The story begins four years in the past which isn’t uncommon for the story to dabble in. We actually pick up with Cady’s father as he celebrates his daughter’s birthday alone in a bar. He’s buying drinks for the bar until his credit card is maxed out. Someone recognizes him as his Cady’s dad just as she comes on the news drunk and partying. He tips the bar tender and then leaves, but where he goes will surprise you. It also very likely changes Cady’s course in life.
In the present we find Cady in full “Beacon” gear, though she’s now embraced the name the media has given her “Furious.” She spots a fire on top of a building and finds a man trying to get her attention. She asks him what he’s doing and he says he was trying to signal her so that she can help his wife… yeah Cady’s suspicious as well especially when he says that he didn’t call 911. She heads down into his apartment and discovers that he’s a hoarder which starts to make things even weirder.
I am going to have to spoil an aspect of the story to really talk about the strengths of this issue so if you don’t want anything else spoiled go ahead and skip to the bottom since I’m not sure how much of the story will seep into the rest of my review.
Now then, to put it plainly the dude jumps Furious and dumps a ton of his junk on top of her including a weight set. Now in previous issues we probably wouldn’t think this is an issue and that Furious would just dump the stuff off of her and beat the guy’s ass, but here she can’t… because she’s afraid for the first time. The dude is a crazy misogynist serial killer and the reason he’s a creepy ass character is because there are real people that think like him in the world.
Now this could just appear as the typical pitfall of a female superhero having a depowering moment at the hands of a man, but it is very much the opposite. It could just be my opinion, but I found this scene between Furious and the misogynist to be one of her most powerful scenes for several reasons. The first is that it built Furious’ character immensely as she was put in a state of helplessness and even remarks to herself that it must be what the people she’s beaten up feel like. That sense of powerlessness in which your very life is in someone else’s hands. There was a point to her being in that situation and it wasn’t just to strip her of her confidence or make her feel like less of a person, even though that’s what the killer wants. Instead she sees things from her victim’s perspectives.
If this scene isn’t a statement on how to overcome feelings of desperation and come out the victor then I don’t know what is. Furious starts off as the victim which is something that she’s been trying to escape being from the first issue and with that realization she’s able to overcome the situation. Again a powerful statement.
The other thing that’s great about this scene and furthers Furious’ character development even more is that she stops herself. Instead of leaving the man to die or taking his life herself, she makes sure that he’s arrested for his crimes against other women.
This is an incredible issue and at times it was uncomfortable to read. I had this fear in the back of my throat that this wonderful series was going to go down the same path so many other comics have gone down in which the female lead is depowered and turned into a victim. Instead the creators made her fight through it and come out even stronger than before.
It’s also important to point out that while the story is uncomfortable at times, it’s Santos’ visuals that truly make it shocking and scary at times. His artwork is the key to the entire issues success and while I don’t have the space to drone on and on about the power in his visuals, just know that without him… this series doesn’t work. Without Santos’ artwork, there is no Furious.
There’s still so much I want to say about this series. I want to talk about the crazed version of Cady Lark running around, the troubling accident that took Cady’s sisters and just the mysteries that surround this series, but that would make for a long and boring review. Instead I will just say that this series continues to get better and better with each issue and no… there isn’t another title out there that’s anything like it.
Writer: Bryan JL Glass Artist: Victor Santos Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/26/14