Story By: Jonathan Ross
Art By: Bryan Hitch
Review Score: 7/10
Jonathan Ross and Bryan Hitch’s America’s Got Powers is an interesting new series from Image. It dances between being too self aware for its own good and having its finger on the pulse of our current culture . It’s both refreshing and frustrating at the same time.
Jonathan Ross pulls a page from fellow writer Jonathan Hickman and introduces you into his world by utilizing a web page dedicated to America’s Got Powers and the chat room responses after the announcement which of course generate tons of hate for choices the creators made from season to season. Ross does a great job establishing a cynical yet honest tone in the books first page. Ross’s explanation for how the mass population of San Francisco gets their powers and is a bit comical. A crystal lands into the heart of San Francisco and erupts which affects women who are pregnant all over the city causing them to immediately give birth to baby’s and those children are born with superpowers. The book starts off rough story wise but definitely pulls itself together for the last two-thirds of the book.
Fast forward to one year ago and Tommy Watts who is known as a “Stoner” aka one of the children who registered 0% powers with the government is watching his Brother Bobby Watts compete in the season finale of Americas Got Powers . After a brutal fight Bobby wins but loses his life in the process .
Present day Tommy has been getting by working at the same stadium where America’s Got Powers films . He’s your typical rebellious teen who constantly tries to see how much he can get away with while toeing the line of being a honest and decent human being. There’s a sub plot involving the government and creator of the series that falls a bit flat but overall the story is its strongest when it follows the narrative into reality TV territory.
Bryan Hitch definitely blows this book out of the water with page after page of beautiful and detailed artwork. You see a bit of repetition with the costume design and a few of the facial expressions seem static but overall this is an extremely diverse and detailed book. Action sequences pop , and there a few panels that are truly jaw dropping. Hitch really lets loose having the freedom to draw what he wants in this book. I for one welcome it , his work is a lot stronger when compared to his last work I saw in New Avengers. The colors aren’t too saturated on the page and overall Hitch is the perfect choice for the book. He definitely makes the book feel grounded in reality but can switch it up on the next panel to Robots fighting Superheroes with ease.
The producer’s of the show this season want better ratings and so they have decided to increase the level of violence on the show and change the rules for the contestants to make things interesting. This seasons premier televised event gets out of hand and our main character Tommy runs out on the Battlefield against the Paladin’s to protect an Innocent child. It’s a welcomed character moment that shows us another side of Tommy other than the rebellious brat that border lines on the cliché. The issue ends with a great display of power and the promise that our “Stoner” character just went from zero to hero and is the hands on favorite to win America;s Got Powers.
I enjoyed the premise of the story and really enjoyed the art . However the beginning execution definitely feels stunted and jarring. I see a lot of potential in this book as long as the focus stays on Tommy and not the Government corporation responsible for the show and infected in the first place. Ross I think captures the worlds preoccupation with vanity and Reality TV very well but sometimes takes me out of the story with his characters.
Overall this was a very imaginative book that I’ve enjoyed reading but sometimes I find myself rolling my eyes at the dialogue. It seems a bit too childish for a book that deals with the systemic decline of our culture. I’m definitely interested in Tommy’s story and that’s why I feel strongly enough to recommend this book to you. Ross takes his first major step in building a world here using social commentary to build an interesting story and Bryan Hitch continues to produce the amazing artwork hes known for.
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