REVIEW: Geek-Girl #4

 

Geek-Girl #3 & #4 are Out Now and available in Regular, Digital and Variant editions at www.geekgirlcomics.com – along with new Variants of Geek-Girl #1-#2 for newcomers to her mini-series.

Ruby has a special pair of specs that gives her the power of flight and to look nerdy. I too have a pair of glasses but unfortunately I am only able to pull off the nerdy part.

What the creative team behind Geek-Girl has been able to produce is a throwback to superhero comics that falls somewhere between the common antics of the cape and cowls crowd and retro tales of Spider-Man. While Ruby might be able to hang with some of Maine’s biggest villains and heroes, it’s the character behind the glasses that provides the heart for this series. This comic isn’t so much about the fists that are thrown but about the everyday troubles of the one who feels forced to throw a punch in the first place.

Ruby is caught between a rock and a hard place in this issue. She is one of the few heroes left standing to take on an electrifying villainess named Lightning Storm, but is also trying to keep up her life as a student. Between having fellow students hint that they know her secret identity, to trying to impress the older and more successful members of the local superhero crowd, Geek-Girl hits on a common theme for most adolescent readers.

The creative team seems to be a reflection of their creation. Geek-Girl is wrestling with her need to do what she wants, while trying to impress her peers. That same sentiment can be said for Johnson and company. This young crew of creative minds are trying to establish their own names and brand in a field of giants; all while trying to build up a character and title they care about. I think that it’s this element in the writing and storytelling that shines through the narrative.

Ruby is forced into the spotlight when local heroes Neon Girl and Pitbull (not the Latin rapper/singer) are put out of commission by Lightning Storm. With the A-list superheroes on the shelf Ruby has to figure out how to beat a villain that handed her a beat down, while dealing with a pair of nerds that want their super powered glasses back. (The source of Geek-Girl’s powers) Then there is the matter of Ruby trying to keep her ID secret while a snobby fellow student hints in class that she knows the truth about Ruby.

It’s this mixture of personal crisis and super hero dust-ups that remind me of old Spidey tales written by Stan Lee. Peter Parker is the king of the struggling every-man, and Ruby has shades of that drama built-in. It’s this balancing act that makes you care about Ruby and the outcome of the story.

Johnson’s dialogue feels natural. The characters interact well with one another, which is a feat for a new comer to the industry. While the plot moves along there are points of confusion; if Lightning Storm is destroying the local police station then why is Ruby not bolting from school and rushing to the scene? Issues like this throw off the timing of the comic and make the story seem cluttered at points. Johnson is still learning to weave in subplots and it shows at points.

Granda does a reasonable job with the art, but again you can see the growing pains of a young talent learning their craft. There are panels within the story where the poses of the characters are too stiff, backgrounds are generic, and the expressions and proportions seem off. As harsh as that criticism can be, it was still a solid offering from a newcomer.

While this comic is not reinventing the genre, it is a decent start for this team and their character. Given time to mature and add some experience; this title has potential of becoming an interesting female entry into the struggling hero drama. I’m curious to see where this title will lead.

Final Score: 3 ½ stars out of 5.

Story: Sam Johnson
Art: Carlos Granda
Colors: Chunlin Zhao
Letters: Paul Mclaren
Publisher: Markosia

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