Writer: Tyler James
Artist: Fico Ossio
Release Date: 1st April, 2015
“The only thing worse than getting bullied at school is seeing that bully transform into the chemically fueled, ten-foot engine of destruction know as ROID RAGE!”
Yup, sounds about right.
After a painfully long delay following its second issue, EPIC – ComixTribe’s gloriously over-the-top superhero series – is finally back!
For those of you just tuning in, EPIC revolves around regula high school student Eric Ardor, a young man who, for reasons that aren’t really important right now, has all manner of super powers including super strength, flight, near-invulnerability – the full package. However, as well as trying to juggle his responsibilities as a regular high school student slash superhero, he also has to deal with his own personal kryptonite. Y’see, Eric is utterly powerless around beautiful girls. Yes, literally.
Okay, cards on the table… in spite of the fairly inspired choice of weakness, EPIC doesn’t necessarily bring a whole lot of fresh ideas to the ‘teen superhero’ genre. There are a lot of familiar tropes at play here as young Eric tries to balance his studies and teen libido with the trials and responsibilities of being a costumed superhero, and in a pair of clumsier hands, this entire series could be seen as little more than a derivative, pointless look at a fairly tired genre.
However, there’s just something about the sheer unbridled enthusiasm with which James and Ossio tackle this project that makes it difficult not to get sucked into what they’re trying to do. Yes, some of the stuff may be a little ‘familiar’, but EPIC is also a gloriously tongue-in-cheek homage to the inherent absurdity of the ‘teen hero’ genre, while also – at its heart – serving as an excited love letter to the crazy worlds of Peter Parker and co.
The story is good, straightforward fun. Nothing too taxing or high-concept, but once again delivered with an enthusiasm and comedic slant that makes it difficult not to get excited about. High school drama, dating, bullies, mean girls… it’s all here within the pages of EPIC, but the main character Eric is just so insanely likeable – not to mention Tyler James’ writing, which is razor sharp and downright hilarious in places – that it all somehow comes together into one gloriously offbeat package.
Again, Ossio tackles the visuals like a (supremely talented) bull in a china shop, providing the same crammed, dynamic panels that serve as the comicbook equivalent of being set on fire and punched through a wall into a firework factory. Seriously, one look at the cover above should be more than enough to confirm that yes, this is one crazy looking comic – but in a good way, as the cartoony, larger-than-life approach helps hammer home the sheer unbridled awesomeness of the series.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for something fresh or innovative, EPIC is probably not for you. A lot of the characters, themes and events contained within these pages are almost as old as comics themselves. But if you’re looking for an unapolagetic celebration of zany, over-the-top superheroics with some fantastically eye-catching visuals and an impressively likeable protagonist… well… EPIC may be exactly what you’re looking for.