Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Jim Calafiore
Release Date: 10th February, 2016
Gail Simon and Jim Calafiore’s ‘superheroes gone bad’ series continues here as Megalopolis survivor Harold Lamb finds himself meeting up with the rest of the rescue team – a team which includes one or two familiar faces – as they prepare head back into Megalopolis to rescue a wealthy businessman. Meanwhile, fellow survivor Mina finds herself dealing with a familiar face from her past… and his girlfriend?
The highlight of this particular issue for me has to be the comicbook shop sequence featuring the pretty much deranged Southern Belle. Simone’s bawdy sense of humour shines through here in Belle’s chaotic dialogue as she reminisces about her past glories before urging a shocked onlooker to “f*ck me right in this nerd pit”. Simone also makes sure to push the true horror of the situation to the forefront during a brief aside – a military deposition where a Colonel Culver recalls the repeated failed attempts to send care packages to the inhabitants of Megalopolis. As well as hammering home the utter bleakness of the situation that the city’s civilians are facing, it also provides a wonderful opportunity for Calafiore to put together a jaw-dropping, poster worthy splash page where the “crazy capes” intercept a shipment of Christmas presents. Fantastic stuff.
Speaking of the artwork, Calafiore continues to bring his A-game here, with some dynamic character designs and several fantastically ‘comic-booky’ moments along the way. From the action sequences, including the calm, matter-of-fact way the rescue team deals with the first ‘cape’ they encounter, to the chilling desolation of the city itself, Calafiore knocks it out of the park from the first page to the last. It’s the little visual details here that really sell the story; the devastated shell of the city with terrified inhabitants scurrying around armed with ineffective weapons; the racks of comics on the shelves providing a haunting reminder of happier times. This is definitely a series where the overall atmosphere plays just as big a part as the characters themselves, and in that respect, Calafiore most definitely delivers.
Sure, there are still a lot of unanswered questions hanging over this series; we don’t know why the capes went crazy, nor do we know why their reign of terror remains confined to the city limits of Megalopolis. There are hints being dangled, but nothing even remotely concrete. At this point though, it’s almost kind of fun not knowing, y’know? Simone’s typically strong character work combined with Calafiore’s dazzling visuals are more than enough to make this series an absolutely essential purchase, with or without an overabundance of unresolved plot threads. Plus, they throw in a bit of a curveball in the final pages which suggests that certain members of the rescue team may have their own agenda, one that goes a lot further than a mere “rescue”. If you like your characters to be realistic and intriguing, your artwork to be dynamic and detailed, and your superheroes to be insane and homicidal, Surviving Megalopolis is most definitely for you.
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