By Scott Southard. The series bolstered by a successful Kickstarter campaign (not to mention the love that continues to pour out toward the two Secret Six curators) is back and seemingly in a much more comfortable position than before. It’s nice to see Dark Horse continuing to carry the mantle where it was last set down, supporting an actively independent project and giving it the distribution it wouldn’t otherwise have. They made a move in this direction by republishing the original Leaving Megalopolis and now we’re getting a full on taste of its aftermath.
At this point, Megalopolis is a lost cause. It’s been destroyed, and the former citizens are either hidden, escaped, or dead. The former superheroes that had protected the city in the name of justice and peace inexplicably turned to ravenous murder in brutal and calculated ways that made zombies and terrorists look like bad late night comedy monologues rather than any sort of tangible threat.
But let’s not forget the daring escape of the few brave innocents that made a run for it. Tough gal protagonist, Mina, who seemingly died during the attempt, is back with a vengeance, strategically planning the assassinations of heroes who destroyed her life. More than the surprise re-reveal of Mina’s existence, she gives us a look at the mentality and morality of heroics. What makes a good guy truly good? Is it their intention to rid the world of bad? To show mercy to those that don’t deserve it? If they stop the villains, does intent matter at all? The exploration of these questions could prove to be a far more interesting one than the run-of-the-mill good guys vs. bad guys (even if it is inversed).
The narrative instigates the necessity of Harold Lamb (along with some new, vicious friends) reentering Megalopolis to save a rich woman’s husband, and possibly extract Mina as well. But like I said, that story almost seems secondary to the exploration of ethics and emotion. Lamb’s been searching for a quiet existence after the original incident, and seems to have a recurringly difficult time finding it. The question of when a hero can hang up the metaphorical cape comes into play, and for the time being, Lamb keeps his tied tight around his neck.
Rarely does a superhero comic come out with such a structurally strong showing in its first issue. Obviously, Leaving Megalopolis has the benefit of a full length graphic novel preceeding it, but what’s here is good, and it functions coherently for readers new to the series. That might have been deliberate, given Dark Horse’s role in this. They’ve directly thrown their money behind this project, with Simone and Calafiore eschewing the necessity of Kickstarter. It’s a really great meta-arc of its own: A team publicly funds a great new series, craft it exactly how they want to, and the publishers come calling. That’s a pretty exciting thing to acknowledge, considering the modern economics of creator-owned properties. I don’t know if we can come to any conclusions yet, but for now, I’m just enjoying the ride back into the city.
Dark Horse Comics/$3.99
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Jim Calafiore
8 out of 10