Thursday, 20 March 2014

Indestructible Volume 1 Review (Jeff Kline, Javi Garron)

Indestructible has a cool premise: in a world where superheroes are real and are huge celebrities, what if an ordinary bloke were somehow mistaken for one of them - what would he do next? That’s what happens to Greg Pincus when he is shot during a robbery and the bullet lodges in a metal flask in his coat pocket. The footage is caught on camera and suddenly people think he’s a Man of Stone - indestructible! 

And while I think that’s a great set-up, the story unfortunately never really delivers on it - or at least not completely. It’s kinda fun at first seeing Greg enjoying the celebrity lifestyle, being pursued by paparazzi and hot superhero groupies, giving autographs and occasionally having to put up with being punched in the gut (because people think he won’t feel it). But that’s really as far as the creative team go in these first four issues - the rest of the book treads water with dull things like Greg getting a showbiz agent and pursuing a love interest that doesn’t quite pan out, and then it’s over with a bizarre attack on a carnival! 

Part of my reaction is because of the series run - I went in thinking this would be a four-issue mini-series but it’s become an ongoing one instead. I’m not sure if that was the original plan or if I got my wires crossed but that’s how it’s played out. Which is fine, good for Jeff Kline and co., but you can see why they chose not to round out the story arc here, opting instead to tease it out into the longer series; it just doesn’t make for a satisfying read. 

The idea of people thinking an ordinary guy is a superhero is fun and original but unfortunately the cast isn’t. Greg Pincus and his flatmate Barry ARE Simon Pegg and Nick Frost - the resemblance and the way they act is identical to Shaun and Ed’s friendship in Shaun of the Dead. The League of the Defenders - the real superheroes who induct Greg into their ranks - are made up of superhero archetypes (think Justice League/Avengers analogues) none of which are memorable. The Mighty is a good superhero character though: a midget lawyer strongman - haven’t seen that before! 

The book ends on a weird note with the bad guys - whom I never really felt I understood well - deciding to blow up a carnival of all places! I was expecting Greg to be found out or at least admit that he doesn’t have superpowers, but those things frustratingly taper out into open ends. I’m not sure how the series will continue the angle for long, especially as it should be fairly apparent quite quickly that Greg isn’t superpowered, but I’m also not in any hurry to find out either. 

Which isn’t to say Indestructible Volume 1 is terrible - it’s not. It is enjoyable in parts, the writing and art are both good and the characters are likeable even if most are a bit bland and storytelling clich├ęs like the “bullet hidden in the breast pocket stopped the bullet” trope get trotted out. But it is a different angle to the superhero genre that hasn’t been explored before so for that I’d say that this is worth a look.

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