Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Jim Calafiore
Release Date: 17th April, 2016
With the full scope of the ‘master plan’ being revealed in the final page of the previous issue, Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore’s LEAVING MEGALOPOLIS: SURVIVING MEGALOPOLIS surges forwards here with yet another another tense, dramatic and darkly comic issue.
Simone continues to keep all of the competing storyline plates spinning with apparent ease, opening with a tense, innuendo-laden exchange between Southern Belle and Overlord (which you can see in its entirety below), before giving us very brief glimpse at just what lies at the bottom of the mysterious hole in the middle of the city, checking in with Crimson Shadow and… Oriole(?) as they cross paths with the hero-worshiping “Padlocks”, and – of course – watching our rescue team creep ever closer to “Mr Valiant” and his cadre of super villains who may well be the city’s only hope.
Simone’s twisted sense of humour comes into play on several occasions here, and her dialogue sizzles throughout as she plays up the constant moral dilemmas that seem to crop up at every corner. With there being a lot of moving parts here, it’s natural that some characters are coming across a little less developed than others, but by and large everyone comes across fairly well, particularly those of us we have already had a chance to get to know from the original LEAVING MEGALOPOLIS series.
Calafiore’s artwork, as should be expected by now, is utterly fantastic. His character designs are top notch for both the “crazy capes” and the Valiant’s assembled super villains, but he also does a stellar job on the non-powered inhabitants of the city, particularly the Padlocks, who go from crazed, Crossed-esque lynch mob to bewildered, subservient sheep on coming face to face with one of their heroes. It’s also worth noting that this issue features one of the best panels of someone being cracked in the jaw with the buff of a rifle that you’re ever likely to see. Seriously, it’s magnificent.
Once again, “blurred lines” seems to be the recurring theme of this series, with absolutely nothing being clear-cut here. Victim or survivor? Good or evil? Hero or villain? Everything is in flux, and with the villains now poised to help the good guys try to survive the former heroes, it’s safe to say that this morally fluid situation is only going to get worse before it gets better.
With just two issues left to wrap this latest series up in a satisfactory fashion, it’s going to be interesting to see if Simone and Calafiore can pull all the threads together in time. For now though, it’s just fun to sit back and enjoy this dark, twisted and visually striking ride.
The perfect antidote for the bland, repetitive superhero comics which are flooding the shelves these days, SURVIVING MEGALOPOLIS is bold, inventive and about as subtle as an assault rifle butt to the jaw. Highly, highly recommended.
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