Hot on power play

America’s Got Powers #1 (Image, US$2.99) Author: Jonathan Ross Publisher: Bryan Hitch

Author: Jonathan Ross

IF YOU like the movie Sky High and TV’s American Gladiators, this six-parter is right up your street. As a bonus, if you recall J. Michael Straczynski’s Rising Stars limited series, the prologue featured here is also a deserving tribute.

However, America’s Got Powers is very much an original new series … that doesn’t feature Simon Cowell.

In line with the reality and extreme game shows on TV these days, what we find here is the injection of super powers into the equation – with San Francisco playing host to the biggest gathering of aspiring heroic talents. With vocal chords and juggling acts not deemed worthy, the ability to fly and pulverise objects is a must.

In case you think there is a lack of contestants, think again! As the story goes, some freak event at the Golden Gate Park a decade earlier led to a generation of newborns who are ‘gifted’ with superhuman powers.

Obviously, as with all scenarios, there are exceptions – and Tommy Watts is the one. Unlike his brother Bobby, who was last year’s America’s Got Powers tournament finalist, Tommy is power-less and the closest he gets to the superhero bandwagon is by working at the arena’s souvenir shop.

The tournament’s objective revolves around the ‘outplay, outlast and outwit’ formula, where participants work as a team and then individually to secure the ultimate title. Of course, their powers come into play in helping them overcome respective challenges.

Apart from the powers on parade, it’s also the ratings that dictate the show’s survival. This is where the plot takes a twist as the contestants eventually learn that they are not only playing to win but also to survive. As shown in this issue, the gloves are off when the safe zones are removed; even the spectators are not spared.

In the mayhem, Tommy rises to the challenge to save the day as a freak incident results in him learning of his ‘calling’.

Despite the predictable plot, the character- and reality-based approach has grown on me. Hitch’s art is another reason as he gives the book an Ultimates-feel – just like his work on the original Ultimates limited series. With Image Comics celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the search for the elusive flagship title might just end here.

Worlds’ Finest #1 (DC, US$2.99) Author: Paul Levitz Publisher: George Perez and Kevin Maguire

Author: Paul Levitz

Finally, a Worlds’ Finest title to complete the 21st century revamp of the DC Universe. Upping the tempo further is the dream team-ups featuring Power Girl and Huntress on the fantasy front, and George Perez and Kevin Maguire to make this a reality!

The past Worlds’ Finest stories centred on the collaboration between the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight, but their absence here won’t be missed as their female successors fill up the void and also explain some key milestones concerning Earth 2.

While on a mission to hunt Darkseid, both Power Girl and Huntress find themselves “trapped” on this new Earth. As strangers in this alien setting, the duo re-establish themselves by pilfering funds from Wayne Enterprise to set up their new corporate and crime-fighting identities.

To spice up the main story arc, Power Girl gets a new costume (that is PG13) while a missing dimension-travelling device and a new villain are also in the mix.

Simplistic as the plot sounds, this title smacks of old-meets-new in every aspect, with the only letdown (surprisingly) being in the art department. Both Perez and Maguire fail to replicate their glory days.

Star Wars Blood Ties – Boba Fett Is Dead (Dark Horse) #1 (of 4) Author: Tom Taylor Publisher: Chris Scalf

Author: Tom Taylor

With the exception of Uncle Ben and Bruce Wayne’s parents, no character stays “dead” in comics nowadays. Hence, why should I bother with what this title claims? As far as I remember, Boba Fett supposedly met his end in a Sarlacc Pit.

However, my blind loyalty towards the ultimate bounty hunter dominates my curiosity, and I’m sure glad it did.

In the first Blood Ties story arc, Boba discovers that he had a half-brother named Connor Freeman. Connor is the son of one of Jango’s clones, and has been living on a trust fund established by the latter. Valuing “blood ties” over his bounty, Boba not only saves Connor (instead of cashing him in) but also gives him adequate funds to set up a Cantina on Atzerri.

Hence, when Boba’s “death” becomes public knowledge, Connor’s toast is the only sincere one in his Cantina.

It takes more than Vader or a Sarlacc Pit to kill Boba; the final credit goes to a posse of Bounty Hunters and Troopers. However, Connor’s not the only one keen on revenge as a mysterious figure gradually hunts down Boba’s killer. This enigmatic person is as swift and merciless as Boba but sloppy, resulting in Connor and his Cantina being targeted by the end of this issue.

What we have here is an explosive start and I will be sticking around as Boba Fett tales are hard to come by.

Dial H #1 (DC, US$2.99) Author: China Mieville Publisher: Mateus Santolouco

Author: China Mieville

With the chances of us getting bitten by a radioactive spider or hit by gamma rays being ridiculously remote, this new DC 52 title increases the probability of an ordinary Joe turning into a hero via a payphone!

Somehow, I still prefer the original H.E.R.O dial (in the 1970s and Will Pfieffer’s 2003 versions) as it has great zero-to-hero storylines.

Besides the radical reincarnation of Robby Reed’s transformation device, this current series sees a new benefactor in Nelson Jent, a hard luck and obese bloke, who accidentally triggers the payphone’s powers while trying to save his friend from a gang bashing. What happens next is the usual good vs evil plot but done at a souped-up pace.

You see, Nelson not only cleans up the neighbourhood but also solves the problems there. Whether Nelson will remain the lead character is uncertain but for versatility’s sake, I hope they widen the characterisation net.

Despite the Brian Bolland cover, I’m very disappointed with this reboot as it does not honour its predecessors. Bring back Will Pfiefer!

> Comics courtesy of Earth 638, 2nd Floor, Kelana Mall, Jalan SS6/12, Petaling Jaya, Selangor (03-78048380 / e-mail:

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