Readers have become so accustomed to multimillionaire super-heroes (Even Peter Parker is running an S&P 500 corporation these days), that it is a real shock when a book looks at the other end of the spectrum. And while Alters isn’t making the direct connection between the high percentage of homeless comprised of gay, lesbian and transgendered and our heroine, it is refreshing when a writer can take an issue like this on directly rather than as an allegory.
Chalice has noticed a new Alter (super-powered) has been tapping into her quantum tunnels for their own purpose. Now that she is gaining better control over her powers, she is determined to find this alter and see if they need help to better use their power. However, this alter is the mother of two boys, far behind on her rent, with a sick mother who can’t take her family in. Her landlord can’t afford to keep losing the apartment’s rent, so he’s forced to evict her.
Sharise pack up her stuff into her car and moves to a box store parking lot, where she feels somewhat safe. There she uses her power to focus on mirrors to transport herself to where she wants to go. This power moves her through Chalice’s quantum tunnels. Intrigued, Chalice follows her and finds her stealing food from a store so her kids can eat.
Leila Leiz (NVRLND) does a great job of dealing with all of the emotional beats in this issue, from Sharise’s embarrassment at being caught stealing, to her son’s anger at losing their apartment, and Chalice’s own guilt when she comes to finally face the consequence of using her power irresponsibly. Leiz’s art exposes that impactful core of each scene. I also love the detail work on background characters in each panel.
I am glad that Chalice is forced to deal with her complicity in crippling her ally, Morph, during a battle with Matter Man. While Matter Man may ultimately be at fault, her overconfidence lead to his debilitating condition. I’m glad that Paul Jenkins (Hellblazer, Spectacular Spider-Man) isn’t letting that thread drop. I hope that he finds a way to continue to work Morph into the stories, so he isn’t forgotten.
I’m glad that while, Alters isn’t giving up on trans issues, it is clear it will not be a book only about those issues. It has been a very inclusive book so far and I hope to see that continue as it tackles more issues that are usually shied away from in mainstream comics.
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist; Leila Leiz
Colors: Leonardo Pacciarotti
Letters: Ryane Hill