JLA: Superpower
John Arcudi, writer,
Scot Eaton, artist
(DC Comics, 1999)

This is what graphic novels were made for. The art is excellent, and the story is one of the best short tales in recent years. What more could you want?

Mark Antaeus is a hometown hero, saving people from fires, terrorists and whatever arises, using powers gained from his father's genetic experiments in his youth. But one day his powers are not enough, and four people die in a tenement fire. Grief-stricken and guilt-ridden over his failure, Antaeus disappears -- only to reappear two years later, horribly mutilated but with a variety of biological and mechanical powers gained as a human test subject for S.T.A.R. Laboratories. Never again, he says, will he fail to save a life.

His selfless heroics and his great, thumping heart soon earn the attention of the Justice League, and Superman himself offers him a trial membership with the team. When his performance on his first mission with the team exceeds all expectations, he gains a permanent slot, and he looks forward to saving the world on a larger scale than he ever dreamed.

But Antaeus soon develops even bigger goals, and he cannot understand why the team won't help him make things right in an impoverished Third World country led by an evil dictator. But when he takes matters into his own hands, the result is not what he expected.

Superpower is a tragic tale about a man who possibly cares too much about the world and proves that justice isn't always a clear-cut issue to resolve. Kudos to the team who put this one together!

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 8 July 2001