I’m not usually one to start from the beginning, but hey, it’s 2013! Let’s live a little! Then again, do I really need to mention how fucking amazing the cover of Supurbia #11 by Emily Warren is? The answer, friends, is “no.” But I will anyway. Those big, bold, beautiful, but otherwise almost wistful swashes of red cut across the cover like thick ropes of blood, the kind of physical response one might expect after being decapitated by, say, the golden battle-axe of a stately Amazonian warrior. August, foreboding and goddamn gorgeous, this is yet another stand-out example of this series’ regularly-captivating covers, and it’s a great doorway into what is, for me, the highlight issue of this woefully under-sung title.
Continuing to follow the currently disastrous exploits of a small neighborhood team of interplanetary superheroes, Supurbia #11 sees the blood-wet rescue attempt of an erstwhile colleague, the further unveiling of the black hats at the heart of an insidious plot and the unexpected Willow-esque, dark god-like ascension of one very surprising player during a kerfuffle in a hell dimension. The last of these should remind everyone that black magic women are not ones with which to so frivolously trifle!
As always, Grace Randolph proves to be a master of the explosive whisper, focusing on the quieter, more familial struggle between the punches and at the root of the unholy salvos of mystical energy. Whether it’s the jealousy of a sister for her brother’s accolades, the raging disappointment of a very dangerous mother, the scorned (and arguably emotionally unstable) girlfriend or the passionate shucking of denial, Randolph is somehow able to swell intimate encounters on a massive scale, and it’s a page-turner every time, most of all in issue 11.
Paramount amongst these various goings-on, however, is the ongoing saga of Night Fox and Agent Twilight, which reaches quite a pivotal point. Okay, look, [SPOILER] there’s a big gay smooch. Now, I don’t want that to sound flippant, but I also don’t want this to be dirtied by the term “controversial,” because it’s the most thematically powerful scene in a book that enjoys quite a few.
This wasn’t a tender moment for me, and I think that’s what made it work: it wasn’t saccharine or cheap. The kiss in this book stands out as a definitive character moment for these two leads and not some bullshit gimmicky “Look at us appeal to the gay demographic” gesture, and whether you’re gay, straight or some other kooky sexuality, you have to appreciate that.
I’ll tell you what else I appreciate: this issue’s interior art. While vastly different from the cover, it is perhaps more cartoony, but in my opinion, no less arresting. In fact, while I’ve quite clearly loved the constantly-evolutionary tandem of Russell Dauterman and colorist Gabriel Cassata, in this issue, these folks set a new fucking bar.
On at least three different occasions, Supurbia #11’s interior aesthetic makes special lenticular covers look gimmicky and trite. The near-3D quality in this book - notably in scenes starring a decidedly pissed-off Agent Twilight and the swan dive of a recently skin-stripped skeleton - is a credit to the talents of this artistic tandem. In fact, this gets my vote for art of the week, if not the entire month. Truly spectacular stuff.
If you’ve been holding out on this series, knock that shit off and catch up: Supurbia is less the mini-van that the name implies, and more the rocket-powered action-mobile you’ve always wanted to drive.
Writer: Grace Randolph Artist: Russell Dauterman Colorist: Gabriel Cassata Publisher: Boom Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/18/13