What if you had the chance to become a superhero? Would you take it? What powers would you want to have? Would you use your powers for good or evil?
I’m sure everybody has asked themselves at least one of these questions during his or her lifetime. Superheroes are a staple of the fiction and fantasy genre. But what if superheroes were part of real society?
Lucha Comics has recently released a new comic series entitled Reality. After reading the following tagline, I knew I was in for a unique and fresh experience with this new story by writer Tony McDougall:
Sure you’ve seen reality shows, but what if they could make you into a superhero?
Reality opens up with three girls, Kate, Marie, and Jess, watching the final moments of an American Idol-esque reality show (called X-Idol) where audience members vote on who will be the next big superhero. In this comic’s universe, superheroes are part of the norm and have gained celebrity status like actors, singers, dancers, and other entertainers. Right away, this caught my interest because it was an innovative concept that I’ve never seen explored before. What if superheroes existed and they just became the new versions of celebrities?
After the X-Idol is crowned, our protagonists discover that all the contestants will be in Times Square to meet fans. Of course, there is a large crowd flocking around the superheroes, making it nigh-impossible for the girls to meet them. Jess decides to sneak into an adjacent building to get a better view from the balcony. She accidentally stumbles upon a mysterious machine that blasts her with powerful rays, granting her super strength, super speed, the power of flight, heat vision, and ice breath. Jess demonstrates these abilities by fighting off a group of security guards, and then escapes from the lab. The issue concludes with Jess meeting Max Powell, the creator of X-Idol, who tells her that he will make her into a star.
As I stated before, it was the tagline that really stood out for me when I first glanced at the comic. I figured that this story would revolve solely around a reality show that turned people into superheroes. Although we see a glimpse of X-Idol and its impact on society, I still wish we could’ve seen more of that. It’s definitely a fresh idea that could open up the superhero genre to a whole new area.
Each scene transition is accompanied by what appear to be commercials for X-Idol: pictures of a superhero demonstrating his or her powers with captions like “They used to be works of fiction. Not anymore. Welcome to reality!” I thought this was a very clever way to break up the story and to ease the transition while still maintaining the audience’s attention. It was almost like I was reading a reality show, commercials and all. I hope we see more of it in coming issues.
One of the problems I had was the lack of depth in the protagonists. Jess, Marie, and Kate seem like generic high school teenagers obsessed with Twitter and Facebook (or Tweeter and FaceMash as they are called in the comic). I didn’t really care for them because I didn’t know them. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made; maybe that’s all these girls are about. Maybe their lives truly revolve around social networking, reality shows, and other aspects of the teenage part of society. In fact, at the end of the story, instead of becoming a vigilante or trying to stop crimes, Jess takes her powers and immediately goes to the creator of a reality show so that she could be made into a famous celebrity. Kudos to McDougall for the social commentary!
The artwork is excellent and possibly one of my favorite parts of the comic. Ashley Green and Mark Repiso shine with their artistic talents in this issue, combining dark shadows and sketchy backgrounds with highly detailed characters to create an engaging world for the reader. Overall, the artwork is very reminiscent of the comics from the late 90s, early 2000s, and people who were fans of that time period should give Reality a look.
The first issue is a quick read and jumps into the action right away. Like I mentioned before, the protagonists are pretty one-dimensional, but if you look at their development (or lack thereof) from a satirical standpoint, then it is actually quite brilliant. If you’re tired of the same old formula of superheroes fighting supervillains and saving the day, try giving Reality a shot. It’s sure to break up the monotony of standard superhero books and bring in a fresh perspective to the genre.
Have you had a chance to check out Reality? What did you think? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!