When creator and writer Darin Henry told me the premise of this book I couldn’t help but feel that it was trying for low hanging fruit. The premise is an obese woman that’s given super speed and trims down to a slim and petit figure. It’s kind of the reverse Steve Rogers when you think about it, which I did. I couldn’t have been more wrong about this series. I mean it is still what it is, but it’s very good and aims higher up on the tree. We meet Renee Garcia-Gibson as all 300 lbs of her wake up. Her son is helpful, but a bit embarrassed by her weight which is the first discouraging thing about her life. From there we follow her on what seems like a pretty typical day for her… shitty. She’s late to work, the parking lot fills up and she runs into court late. She’s the stenographer and head over heels infatuated with the city’s top prosecutor. Later she gets caught up in a superhero battle and rescued before falling in a rather large hole caused by the damage. Fat jokes ensue after her rescue and she rushes off.
While crying in the alleyway a man approaches her about taking part in his clinical study for weight loss, he guarantees super results (pun intended) and Renee, at her lowest, agrees. Then there’s some commercials because that’s one of the catches of the publisher Sitcomics. After the break we come back to Renee walking into the Doctor’s lab and he breaks down that he owes the mob a lot of money so he’s trying to test his weight loss cure before they come to collect. Hilariously they come to collect right after Renee takes the “cure.”
You can probably figure out where the story is going. Renee gets super speed and trims down and is tiny and petite. How she’ll explain that is likely to be part of her story and I’m interested to see how her life changes. The story is a bit cheesy at times, but it’s good cheese. Things like the doctor explaining that he plans on being rich before they come to collect and then they come to collect. It was obvious, but it was still funny. The book is humorous for sure. Renee’s bad day is so typical of a tv bad day, but it works. It just shows how shitty her life is, but humanizes her a lá Spider-man style. For instance, when her crush walks up behind her and asks if she “wants company for lunch” and it turns out to be his girlfriend behind her, but she answered as well. We’ve all probably done that at some point, not the exact instance, but embarrassed ourselves in a similar fashion. Renee is incredibly relatable and she’s never written down at. The world is cruel and mean to her, but the writing never is. The writing treats her like a normal person, to the point that you don’t think about her being 300 lbs.
I’m hoping there’s a bit of a The Victories tied into the story so that we can see both sides of Renee, but we’ll see. If she’s just thin from now on, then it could still be interesting given what we know about her life. That and being thin and having super speed are two separate life changing events. Depending on how Henry approaches the story he could present two things that change Renee’s life and cause a lot of imbalance.
The art is very talented. Craig Rousseau has a style that really fits the genre, but in a more family friendly form. I know that “family friendly” is like the kiss of death for superhero comics these days, but not for me. I liked that you really could give this to a kid to read and enjoy, but myself as an adult also enjoyed it. It had a classic feel to it with both the story and art, but not a dated look. It was modern and resembled the world we live in. I will say that some of the hero and villain designs were strange, but at least they were original. That and I have the feeling that the world of the heroes is supposed to be a bit over the top. The art was really impressive and did a great job of bringing the story to life.
I really enjoyed Startup. It borrowed heavily from the world of comics, but without it being a rip-off. It wasn’t quite homage, but it was more of slight references that you’ll either know or completely miss. Overall it was just really nice to read a superhero story that wasn’t trying. It just was. The industry doesn’t exactly need another superhero story, but if it’s going to get one, then I’m glad that it’s Startup.
Startup #1.1 Writer: Darin Henry Artist: Craig Rousseau Colorist: Glenn Whitmore Publisher: Sitcomics Price: $1.99 Format: Ongoing; Digital Website