From writer Jonathan Ross and artist Brian Hitch comes Americas Got Powers, a more traditional superhero story set in modern times where a mysterious crystal lands gifting an entire generation super-human powers. In an effort to contain these young Powers the US government constructs an arena off Alcatraz where they now compete in a super human gladiatorial style combat televised for millions across the nation.
I was really curious to check this book out as having only known Jonathan Ross as a UK TV celebrity I was curious to see how he would translate into the comic medium. In short I was very impressed with this book; whilst it does fall on a few clichés that you see in the super-hero genre overall the story in this book is great. Drawing on something that has become more prevalent in our day to day lives lately, that of reality TV Ross taps into the futility of it all and really explores the characters behind the scenes allowing us to see (albeit in this fantasy setting) the banality of it all, how it can destroy peoples live and most importantly that it can be twisted for others gains.
As a trade this book is on the lengthy side however, that is used to great effect to really build up the main cast of characters. Zero the main character who is more powerful than any of the other powers combined goes on a highly emotional journey from bottom all the way to the top and his reaction to being labelled as the saviour of a whole new species is particularly human, and this is where Ross’ writing excels in the smaller touching human moments really making the reader feel an emotional connection to these characters.
I think we all know at this point that Bryan Hitch is a great artist and this book is worth it purely for the art alone. Everything is so immaculately detailed that you cannot help but get lost in Hitch’s splash pages of the powers in full blown combat. This is where the Hitch really excels in this book, conveying action on the page, you can tell that each action sequence is well thought out and it feels like the high energy of a sports game and even in the quieter moments bringing such an atmosphere into the book that it is a joy to read.
Americas Got Powers is a book that is strong in every area; the whole story is well constructed with a satisfying ending and a few great twists and turns along the way. I can’t say enough good things about the art as each panel is a joy to behold. Whilst a few readers may be turned off by the premise for this book the execution is so well done that any fan of the superhero genre will be able to pick up this book and enjoy it.
By Matt Deery