A wildly ambitious new superhero book steps in and shows up in a big way.
Commanders In Crisis #1 is a bold, jam-packed debut issue wears its politics on its sleeve as that arm punches a bad guy in the face. Carefully balancing exposition, plot development, and action, this new superhero concept takes hints of things you know while introducing all-new characters and a bigger-than-life threat.
First, the dramatis personae. Five heroes have banded together as The Crisis Command, first responders against threats beyond law enforcement or the military. Prizefighter (Noah Rowe) has powers that are a reflection of Marvel's Gladiator, as he is as strong (presuming durability as well) as onlookers believe he is. Seer (Scarlet Davis) is a "quantum god, one minute at a time," able to foresee the future and wield energies for levitation, a kind of telekinesis, and limited tactical precognition. Sawbones (Ignacio Mendez) is an "action surgeon" with great skill as a marksman and melee combatant, utilizing powers similar to Marvel's Karnak to detect weaknesses and illnesses in people around him (including a kind of x-ray vision). Originator (Sumaira Shamsie) is a real doozie, a kind of semantic magician who can remix word roots to utter new terms that alter reality for 24 hours. Finally, Frontier (Nina Next) is a science hero in the Oracle/Iron Man mold who brought them all together and has a plan.
Somehow, Steve Orlando's immaculate script doesn't just introduce each character, give each character a moment to shine and reveal information about them in their behaviors; he introduces some "B" plot material (shocking federal legislation) and ties the whole thing together with a murder mystery that bookends the narrative. There's another secret about these five heroes revealed in the pages herein that is a little wishful but well done in its reveal.
Let's talk about the visual storytelling from Francesca Carotenuto, Fabio Amelia, and co-creator Davide Tinto. If you liked the very engaging WildGuard from Todd Nauck or Noble Causes, this intricate and crystal clear artwork will be right up your alley, with great abilities to both convey information and dig deep into characters.
Each of these things — balancing so many elements in a script, putting so much information in images without making it busy — is really hard, but everyone on this team brings it like they were FedEx. The last page of Commanders In Crisis #1 makes you want more, and the page before it makes you feel like you finished something enjoyable. To do all that, with brand new characters, no one knows, and make it this enjoyable is a huge accomplishment. RATING: BUY.
The last survivors of the Multiverse live among us under new, superheroic identities, five survivors of doomed worlds…taking a second chance to ensure our world lives on. A new twist on strange superhero comics, with a bleeding-edge eye on the modern moment, COMMANDERS IN CRISIS follows in the footsteps of Doom Patrol and Thunderbolts as five unexpected heroes come together to solve a murder unlike any other. The victim? Compassion itself! This is ideacide! A new series by acclaimed writer STEVE ORLANDO (Wonder Woman, Doom Patrol: Milk Wars, Martian Manhunter) and artist DAVIDE TINTO (Marvel Action: Spider-Man), an intense, weird action thriller reminding us about the importance of compassion and hope in the present moment, and putting fists to faces along the way!
Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on BleedingCool.com, and more information can be found at his website, www.hannibaltabu.com.
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