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Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Adventures of Superhero Girl. Faith Erin Hicks (Writer & Art), Cris Peter (Colours). Dark Horse Books ( 2013)

Wonderfully charming, funny and engaging, a different view of superhero comics sparkles with affection and wit. Superhero Girl is a starting her career in super-heroics and finding that establishing a personal and professional life are both hard work. The absence of significant supervillians, other than King Ninja, the less than awed response from the public and the need to pay the rent all make life complicated. Superheros Girl's adventures as she starts on her career are clever, very funny and always with a strong emotional undertow that brings them to glorious life.
Faith Erin Hicks has developed a character with superpowers who is also a twenty something trying to make a independent life in the face of a mix of mundane and extraordinary problems. The balance between the two is a very fine one, Faith Erin Hicks maintains it with  deft skill and great sympathy for her cast. A skeptical onlooker is a greater menace than a fire breathing alien, a disastrous foray into knitting is cunningly mixed up with success at capturing criminals.
The razor sharp writing is superbly economical, the problems are cleverly set up and unexpectedly resolved in ways that are usually very funny but never undermine Superhero Girl. The struggles she is having are all too understandable and her determination to forge a life in her own name is very attractive. One of the very many pleasures of the book is the spot on family dynamic that Superhero Girl has with her, much more successful superhero brother, Kevin. Kevin is the shadow she is trying to step out from and Faith Erin Hicks nicely reveals the heart inside his arrogantly confident, older brother facade.
The art is a cartoony joy, the cast are expressive as well as being just exaggerated to the right degree to makes super heroics plausible. The action is great, the interactions among the cast effortless natural and engaging. Faith Erin Hicks proves that taking super hero comics seriously does not mean the requirement to be serious or grim in a story, there is a relaxed and humorous atmosphere to the book that never compromises the quality of the narrative or the impact of the story.
The colours by Cris Peter are perfect super hero colours, bright and powerful, they bring out all the tones of the art and capture the varying moods with subtlety.
This is a wonderful comic, an astonishing statement about the possibilities of the super hero genre in the hands of talented, willing and imaginative creators.

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