Thursday, March 15, 2007

TPB Review - Grounded (2006)

No, I haven't followed Cap in to the great beyond*... I'm still kicking. I just had a few personal projects at home to work on, and haven't had time to get to the LCS.

Still, there should be content, and looking back, I am a lazy blogger. You may have started up with other blogs by now, and I couldn't blame you, baby.

A while ago, I went nuts on the TPB's. I was a little bored as Civil War started to wind down and it looked as if it wasn't going pay off like I hoped it would. I bought up a bunch of stuff that looked different.

Grounded by Mark Sable and Paul Azaceta was one of the trades that I picked up. It has a clever concept: the main protagonist is a normal, powerless teenager who goes to high school with superpowered kids. Kind of like Sky High, except the kid never develops his own powers.

The story kind of writes itself from there. All the tension of being an adoloescent, plus super powers. There also the added dimension of the parent's life intruding on the kid's as super villains start gunning for them.

To my knowledge, this is the only writing Sable has done in comics to date (according to The story's packed full of ideas about the whole superhero genre, almost too packed. Maybe it's just a sign that I'm so used to decompressed storytelling, so used to writers expounding on an idea over an over again, but I almost wish that the story was either pared down a bit, or lengthened. There were a number of secondary characters in Grounded that I thought could rate their own story (I especially liked the Desire character... he/she appears as the object of the viewers desire, though no one know what gender this character is, hence no one goes near him/her for fear of falling in love with someone of the same gender). Still, there are worse things than having too many ideas, so I'll just shut up about that.

I think Azaceta's artwork is gorgeous, though with the complexity of the story and ideas, I think it's an awkward fit. Sable is writing with a near prose level of detail and ideas, and I think Azaceta's style is more suited to impressionistic, noirish tales. There are a few sequences that I wish were a little clearer, a little more detailed. Still, on it's own the art is great, so it's a minor crab.

I would highly recommend this TPB. I think it may have been intended to be an ongoing, but the six issues contained here provide a complete story and clean closure.

*comics definition of "great beyond": death of prominent character, usually short-lived. Media coverage inversely proportionate to likelihood of characters staying dead. May lead to influx of outside interest and sales, followed by exodus of same the following month. See also: Phoenix, Superman, the whole Onslaught thing, maybe Magneto, Spider-man, Batman, Bucky, Captain Marvel, Thor.




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