The charm of this series is that the issues serve to develop the characters more than tell an overall typical comic narrative. It’s the best series I’ve ever read for new readers because it perpetually has jumping on points for new and relapsed readers ever few issues. It reminds me a lot of old school Marvel comics that would basically reintroduce the character and world with each issue in case it was someone’s first time with the series. It worked then and it works even better now as Rich’s focus on the character and the issue rather than how to connect this plot line with that one; instead it organically works together.
This issue is a heartwarming one-shot about The Slug and Black Crystal. It Girl of course makes an appearance along with Carla who’s been pretty absent in the series thus far. Black Crystal sneaks out in the middle of the night and shortly thereafter The Slug wakes up and stays awake refusing to check to see if her husband is gone until morning. When the sun hits her she finally turns over to of course find him gone. From there we see The Slug moping about looking for her husband and being concerned that he’s forgotten their anniversary. We cut to Black Crystal as he’s fighting a giant mutated mole and kind of winning… kind of. It Girl and Carla talk The Slug into going with them out onto the water for a swim where the two sides of the story begin to intertwine.
This issue was short and sweat and while you can guess the outcome, it didn’t make it any less meaningful once you read it. That’s something I’ve appreciated about this series from the beginning is that while it sticks to the formula it always manages to surprise you with its human moments. I’m very unfamiliar with Black Crystal and The Slug, but there relationship was real and relatable and that’s not something I would say about many other comic book marriages. In a lot of ways comic book marriages are worse than celebrity marriages because they’re faker and yes that is an obvious statement considering its fiction.
If Mike Norton ever needs a kidney or half of my liver then he’s got it. Of course I will blackmail him into creating a comic book with me, but anything to keep him healthy and drawing a dozen issues a month. Norton has a gift for bringing Rich’s creative uses of the Atomics powers to life. All I really have to say about the art is: Giant mutated moles with tusks and huge claws. If that doesn’t make you want to pick up the book then there’s something wrong with you or you were isolated too much as a child.
I’m not going to focus on the downside of what this issues means, rather I will stay positive and hope that my encouraging reviews will guide people to picking up the series. There are so many great issues and two great artists have already contributed to the series with a third joining for the next issues. A quick check online shows that the back issues are available, but if not then check the book out digitally. They’re a quick read, but you’ll be left with a very rewarding feeling at the end and I’m not just saying that because I’m quoted on the cover (though I stand by that statement still).
Writer: Jamie S. Rich
Artist: Mike Norton
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: 4/17/13