I feel like more people need to be reading and talking about Supurbia, so I’m gonna make my monthly appeal. This is a damn fine book, folks. In fact, it’s the perfect “other side” to the superhero story, while at the same time doing great things within the structure of the genre. Also, it’s just really fun; even at its most grave, this book pops in its dramatic surprises, its art and its firm commitment to spinning a delicately tangled story. In a scant 20 pages, you really do run a colorful gamut of adventure, whether it's an impish chase through a hell dimension or an angry naked superman destroying his own house, the latter of which was great in its slightly-ironic nod to some very recent (and very deadly) “home-wrecking.” All of this feeds into, and slips itself between, yet more story in what is a fucking fantastic issue finale, a scene which seethes with torturous power, devilish manipulation and dark discovery. I know I sound like a solicit, but what can I say? This book makes you want to write pretty things.
At the same time, though, we still get to follow the stitching of Supurbia in its liner notes, like the love square between Night Fox, his wife Alexis Fritsche, and their respective lovers, Jake Weintraub and Agent Twilight. I understand why these subplots may give the book its Desperate Housewives comparisons, but I don’t think anyone should look at that as a bad thing. I was never a huge fan of it, but if the way Randolph controls her human drama within this story is indicative of that show, then maybe it deserves further viewing.
I personally love how she structures and weaves the softer sides of this story alongside its more steely bits. That “family picture” scene halfway through, for example; what a great image to sum up the book’s cast. The poise of characters like the haughty Sovereign and the clearly disinterested-in-mothering Batu versus the less uptight ones of their human compatriots is perfect. In painting this picture, Dauterman reverberates in his art the otherworldly chaos that eats away just beneath the garden of Supurbia’s picket fenced-in lawn.
Now, while I maintain that Randolph juggles her many pieces well, there is only so much anyone can touch on within 20 pages, so sometimes issues of Supurbia like this, with so many different fingers scratching at its corners, will leave you feeling a bit jumbled. However, I think you’ll also find they mostly close together in a strong grip by the end, with some or another development left to think about until next time.
This issue was no different, and in fact because of its format, you are left with multiple cliffhangers rather than just one big shock, each one hinting at its own dynamic avenue. I do admit that issue 10 felt a bit short, but while the page count is lower than in some other comics out this week, that might just be because it’s such an easily-consumable story.
Just like that which exists in its writing, the more literal tonal control in this book’s art is pretty fucking remarkable. Just look at the difference in color between the Sovereign’s tantrum and Agent Twilight’s dire straits, the contrast in light and dark is stark, but that just succeeds in showing its range. Add to that some great lettering throughout (particularly at the start) by Steve Wands (which is an awesome name, by the way), and Supurbia continues to be one of the titles I look forward to the most each month.
If you haven’t been following this, do yourself a solid and pick this issue up, flip through it and get addicted. I guarantee you it’s the most fun you’ll ever have in the suburbs, super or otherwise.
Writer: Grace Randolph
Artist: Russell Dauterman
Colorist: Gabriel Cassata
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Release Date: 8/14/13