Comics Features

REVIEW: Rapid City #1 and #2

One of the main reasons why people enjoy stories about superheroes is because we look at them not only as saviors, but as the people who we wish we were, a way for the world to see us as being something else, something extraordinary. Which is why lonely loser Brian, the protagonist of Rapid City, spends the entire first page and much of the remainder of #1 pondering what his superhero name should be.

Josh Dahl is a promising up-and-coming writer, and although he may have few previous credits to his name, Rapid City could certainly be his key into the industry, as he certainly has a strong understanding and respect of the superhero genre, something that he takes very seriously.

What makes the first two issue fall a little flat is that, although we are introduced to an interesting set of characters, Dahl does not seem to know what to do with them. We understand that they want to be superheroes, but where do you go from there? Brian laments to his girlfriend that he feels as though he does not have a life, but we kind of got that impression on the opening page.

# 2 starts with Brian moping during his job in a call center, getting nervous when ordering coffer, and nearly being driven to breaking point by his rat-tormenting co-worker. Did I mention that Brian hates his life? The two issues end up feeling like an overly long introduction to Brian and his aspirations rather than two first two installments of a four part story.

When his powers finally start to manifest, we are treated to some all too brief action as he saves people in a car accident, only to go back to his usual moping around. Which is just as well, because villains are meeting at a super-secret headquarters in Geneva to discuss their next move. Some hero-on-villain action is bound to happen later.

Although it initially seems to be set in a world not too different from our own, we learn form a soliloquy delivered by Brian at the grave of his beloved, that the world is actually hiding secrets. Nothing too big, mind you, just Atlantis, magic and alien gods. Too bad we never see or hear from them apart from the single mention.

Strange that a modern day superhero comic would be in black and white.  It’s a bold decision to say the least. While it may make it seem a bit bland, it certainly makes it seem like less of traditional superhero story, and more of a journey into the troubled mind of its protagonist, who clearly sees the world in very black and white terms (sorry). And despite the lack of color, the level of detail of A. Kaviraj’s artwork, is certainly impressive, with everything from Wikipedia to busy streets accurately re-created.

Rapid City #1 and 2, as previously said, feel something like a dead end on a motorway. The premise is there (sort of), the characters are there, but the development is lacking. But when the elements that work, such as the exploration of why people want to be superheroes or the occasional action sequences come into play, they offer flashes of greatness which cannot be overlooked.

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Davidde Gelmini