Review: Supernatural Agents #1

I’m a sucker for teams of brightly costumed superheroes with a variety of powers and personalities, as can be deduced from my love of the X-Men and Teen Titans. That being said, the cover art alone on this comic was enough to draw my attention and make me want to learn more about the Supernatural Agents. I was quick to judge this book by it’s cover and unfortunately, it didn’t work in Advent’s favor.
I’m not saying this is not an enjoyable comic because it is to some degree. The foreword speaks of this team’s decades-long history, but this is my first time hearing about them. I love the concept of a group of heroes with animalistic abilities fighting crime and working toward making the world a better place. The Human Tiger, Claw, Speedster, and Iron Bull are told their government contract is cancelled just before a meteor is detected plummeting toward the big city! They are joined by several other heroes to end the threat, only to find out their troubles are only beginning from Starbolt, who emerges from the meteor’s wreckage. In a secondary story, the villainous former-hero Stunray combats three caped crime-fighters tasked with stopping him. This is a big battle with trash talking and energy blasts, making for a nice little read, but whether these stories are connected or not is unclear.
Easily, my favorite part of this first issue is the character line-ups for the various groups of heroes. Colorful outfits, dynamic abilities, and an overall fun feel. The other pieces that make up the comic are found lacking for me though. I wish I had more development into these people instead of such a fast-paced crisis-to-crisis format. Instead of an introductory page by editor, inker, and creator Jim Hachey describing the journey of the publication history, I would have much rather had a brief summation of the story and a character outline. At least then, I could read this without guessing who’s who and we wouldn’t need a footnote telling the reader that “Mark is the Human Tigers birth name” (also, note the lack of possessive apostrophe). Also, these Supernatural Agents never really encountered anything classically supernatural in the opening issue. Seems misleading. I have no idea who Stunray was fighting or why it matters. There is a fun little exchange in that skirmish about needing to work on their dialogue, and I couldn’t agree more. The pencilwork by Luis Rivera and color stylings of Nimesh Morarji are highlights for me, feeling classic in it’s approach. I would be surprised if this was done digitally. The pencils on the Stunray section by Demi Mandir aren’t bad either, but I prefer Luis’ work.
One big ding for me reading this was the multiple spelling errors throughout. Either the letterer Giovanni Capurro didn’t double check his work or the mistakes were overlooked by everyone from Paul Beale (writer) to Jim Hachey. Either way, rookie mistakes like this take me out of my groove. Not only that, but punctuation is clearly not a priority and speech bubbles are incorrectly assigned.
It’s worth noting before my final verdict that this is produced in Canada and that the foreword has a Christian statement. However, neither of these are all that prevalent in the story, and I really appreciate that. I’ve read “Christian” comics that push church agenda that makes them no fun to read (though don’t misunderstand, I identify as a Christian and appreciate well done attempts at blending gospel into entertainment). On the Canadian side of things, there are references to towns and shifts in governmental focus with the Prime Minister, but as a completed work, this in not pushing the point about being Canadian in the way that Chapterhouse does. Also a nice touch. I loved their use of a diverse creative team of various ethnic backgrounds, judging from the names that is.
So, overall I’d say I didn’t hate this comic, but two-dimensional writing and lettering errors were detrimental to creating a connection with the audience (or this reviewer at least). The art and colors are pretty solid for an indie publisher, and the hero designs are very cool. Now, they just need to grow those characters and make me care about what happens next. It is family friendly without shying away from big action and superheroics. Compared to larger publishing companies, I would say this falls below par, but all things considered it could have been much worse.
Writing: 2
Art: 3
Colors: 3.5
Lettering: 1.5
Overall: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

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