By Justin McCarty
Superb is very familiar. There are teenage mutants. Laws are put in place to control said mutants. And prejudice towards them from the public forces them into hiding. Also, the obligatory government agency, whose responsibility it is to track down errant mutants and inter them. The twists here are that it was meteors that have fallen that possibly caused the mutations, and the main hero has Down Syndrome. A lot of stories have been popping up that include non-traditional supertypes, they have Aspergers, (not the Sherlock kind; the normal kind) or they have autism; in this case, Down Syndrome. Some do better than others in conveying the message that being different doesn’t mean you’re less capable. Superb is definitely about perceptions: people can be more than they appear.
This issue has Jonah and Kayla on the run from Mr. Gomez and the Foresight soldiers. Jonah, as Cosmosis, was on track to rescuing Corrina before he had to escape the Foresight compound. He did manage to find a room of casually stacked boxes of dead bodies. It bothered me a little that in the last issue that more weight wasn’t given to the scene where Cosmosis discovers the bodies. That seemed like a big deal. Jonah is still bent on getting back into Foresight. He needs help though, so we get to meet Abbie, his techie sidekick.
Superb does a great job of using familiar tropes to give us something a little new and fun. Throughout all three issues, you get a lot of action. There is a lot of superhero style on the pages. Fast paced panels flow across double pages. Figures stand out from the panels for their monologue. It does all this and manages not to feel cliche. It’s clear some hard work has been put into these books to make them feel like you’re reading a superhero comic that has real characters with real problems. As you read the book, you get a sense of movement from panel to panel that resonant with emotion. It’s these small character moments that make Superb stand out.
Unfortunately, issue three has me a little concerned that this comic will not continue to hold up.
There were several artists working on this book. Usually, when a book has more than one penciler, it's a bad sign. I have no idea why they would choose to have more than one penciler, and the reasons would be many, but the alternating artwork is distracting. One penciler was on the Jonah and Kayla scenes, and the other was on Foresight scenes. So on a page turn, the art style would change drastically. Ray-Anthony Height penciled the first two books; then Alitha Martinez was brought in to help on this issue. Both artists seem very capable. As an aside, there were four inkers on this book.
Superb takes a very familiar template and mixes in a great character like Jonah and his alter ego Cosmosis. This could be a very popular book. Issue three has so much going for it. The arc of the two main characters is starting to come together. It ends with a fun, even if it is predictable, cliffhanger. This comic could be banal and somehow it’s not. This issue though had its distractions, with two not very compatible art styles. The end result made an otherwise quality book look like it may be losing a step.