Move over Rorschach, you're not the only hero with a journal now. Before G-Man was the glorified superhero we all know and love, he was just Michael "Mikey" G., a student without powers growing up in a world full of superheroes. His older brother Dave is always looking to get him in trouble, all his friends seem to be acquiring powers left and right, and his math & science teacher Mr. Leary is fed-up with his delusions of grandeur about eventually becoming a superhero one day. Poor Mikey can't catch a break, and his pain becomes the reader's enjoyment from beginning to end.
The G-Man Super Journal: Awesome Origins isn't your typical graphic novel. The latest G-Man story crafted by Chris Giarrusso, this "autobiography of awesomeness" expands on G-Man's origin story as if were a journal assignment for Mikey's English class, with illustrations and picture clippings scattered throughout. For those who have read Giarrusso's first G-Man story, G-Man: Learning to Fly, this Super Journal makes for an awesome companion piece.
Mikey's quest from the get-go is to be a superhero like his idol, Captain Thunderman. That's all he and his friends talk about at school, much to the annoyance of his math & science teacher Mr. Leary. According to Mr. Leary, a college diploma is much more valuable than acquiring superpowers, and will go on longwinded lectures on the subject. Because Mikey disagrees with Mr. Leary, the two clash and become adversaries. Mikey always loses though, because detention trounces logic every time.
When Mikey's friends one-by-one start to become superheroes, he desperately tries to go down the same path they each did to get the same results. His friend Billy creates his own wings to help him fly and becomes Billy Demon. Brian completes basic Suntrooper training and becomes a Junior Suntrooper Agent (Think Nova Corps. Or Green Lantern Corps.). Eddie Delta can change the color of his skin and is super strong and quick. Curtis bought some magical shoes that make him run at super speeds. And yet, Mikey is still Mikey. The only other student without powers who's equally desperate to get some is Tony Carboni, only he's a rich jerk who doesn't deserve powers.
I've always been a fan of Giarrusso's humor in the G-Man books (and Mini Marvels), and in the Super Journal he triples the amount of comedic moments without making it seem repetitive or tedious. Mikey's journey to become a superhero is a constant uphill battle, but despite the countless obstacles he faces, there is a gratifying payoff at the end. The relationship he has with his older brother Dave is not only incredibly believable, but really hits close to home. The constant blaming each other and having his parents constantly side with Dave is hilarious as it is frustrating, something readers with siblings can definitely relate to. The interactions with Toni are also entertaining, for whenever he asks were people got their wings, magic shoes, outfits, etc., everyone always replies "You can only get it from a Top-Secret website in Japan." The journal entries remind me a little bit of MAD Magazine's "Planet Tad" feature, which is equally hilarious in tone and structure.
If you love the G-Man books, this Super Journal is for you. If this is your first encounter with G-Man, this Super Journal is definitely a good starting point and will intrigue you to collect Giarrusso's other graphic novels starring the superhero. Since Awesome Origins expands on the events of Learning to Fly, perhaps the next Super Journal will expand on the events of Cape Crisis. We would only be so lucky. Now if you excuse me, I've got to go write an entry in my LiveJournal about how I want to be as awesome as Chris Giarrusso.