When the average person thinks of comic books they think of superhero comics. It is the nature of the beast and the only thing that will change that is diversity of material. It’s why I love independently produced comics because usually they’re anything but superhero related. Not always though; more and more I do find myself giving indie superheroes a shot because I’ve broken away from the mainstream superheroes completely. Books like The Red Ten have shown me that there is the potential for different and great superhero stories in the world of indies. Obviously I’m using the above statement for my lead in for Omega Comics Presents, which is an anthology style title with a focus on superheroes. The bulk of the story is a tale called Eastsiders: Electric! Now it could just be considered a sci-fi/supernatural tale, but in the world of comics anything with supernatural abilities is basically a superhero so that’s why I’ve dubbed it so.
The story introduces a man by the name of Jake. He narrates as he enters a convenience store to pick up some party supplies to celebrate the release of his friend Jimmy. You see Jimmy has just gotten out of the slammer after a six month stay and he wants to stay out and get his shit together. For some reason he wants to celebrate at the docks which Jake finds kind of weird. When he arrives he hears a death cry and sees a car pull away. Jake runs over to find four bodies dead and burnt, but only their flesh is gone. Jake must have shit timing though because the cops show up and well… they don’t believe that he had nothing to do with the murders.
The story continues as it reveals character with powers and a world that seemingly knows about them, but only in whispers and government cover ups. Meanwhile there’s a council that deals with superpowered individuals that also seems to believe Jake committed the crime before even checking the evidence.
The enjoyable part of Eastsiders is the world that it creators. The idea that superpowered people are somewhat new to this world and yet they regulate themselves in a way is interesting. There are other titles that you could mesh for a comparison, but the charm of the series is that it’s not quite like anything else in the genre. Sure there’s influences and maybe even glimmers of other universes, but it’s really just doing its own thing.
Pj Perez does a grand job with the narration; Jake is interesting and the way he sets up a scene or runs through things that trigger his memory, make him very relatable. Jake narrates for two pages and while interesting it doesn’t exactly echo what’s on the page, but then in a roundabout way the visual and the narration meet up and connect. It was very impressive storytelling for sure. António Brandão also does a fine job on the art for the story. His visuals give Jake personality and drive the visual storytelling forward. Overall Brandão is a solid fit for the story and genre.
There is a second story in the issue called “Hard Time”, by Russell Lissau and Justin Castaneda. The easiest way to describe it is a “what if” style of story: what if the Juggernaut (called the Devastator here) was locked in prison and loosely followed the plot line for Shawkshank Redemption? That’s pretty much it, but it’s a spoof of sorts so it’s goofy and full of references to movies about prison. It was okay and entertaining for the most part. Personally the jokes have already been done, but this time it was a supervillain, but there was nothing super about him.
This actually ended up beating my expectations. I will definitely be back for the next installment of Eastsiders and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone that likes the superhero genre, but doesn’t always need a corporate mascot on the front cover.
Writers: Pj Perez, Russell Lissau, Alex De-Gruchy Artists: António Brandão, Justin Castaneda, Mike Kennedy Publisher: Pop! Goes The Icon Price: $4.99 Release Date: 3/26/14 Website