Monday, April 8, 2013

Review - The Standard #2

Superheroes live a life full of intrigue and danger. For every day they're using their powers for whatever reason, they're also confronted with reconciling their superhero identities with personal lives. When one of the stalwarts of superheroes is brutally killed, it causes the others to question their place and The Standard #2 from ComixTribe tries to answer that question.

The Standard #2 is written by John Lees, illustrated by Jonathan Rector, colored by Gulliver Vianei and Mike Gagnon and lettered by Kel Nuttall.

In The Standard #1, Alex Thomas (aka The Standard) was brutally killed, thrusting his role into the spotlight. Sure, he lived in a world where superheroes became celebrities, but that doesn't mean they don't want quiet, private lives as well. Gilbert Graham was the first Standard and, after passing the role onto Alex, became a chemistry teacher. Now, in the wake of Alex's death, Gilbert is being recruited to help avenge the former's brutal death and stop the madness before it gets any worse.

There's an interesting story at the heart of Lees' writing. The concept of superheroes revealing themselves and trying to live their own lives isn't new, but the end of the first issue was so brutal and violent that it really set the tone for the series as a whole. The Standard #2 continues that tone of despair If someone can kill a hero as powerful as The Standard, then what's to stop them from killing everyone else? It's that fear of impending death that hangs over the story, forcing an aged Gilbert to reluctantly get back into the game.

Rector's art is well done. He uses some creative panel layouts to keep the pages fresh, although there are some instances where the violence overshadows the rest of the book. The Standard is a violent book and the art does a great job conveying that violence, despite it seeming a little too gory at times. Still though, Rector handles the duties with ease and makes it as enjoyable to look at as it is to read.

The Standard #2 is a solid second issue. While it doesn't bear the magnitude of the first issue, it does maintain the momentum. That momentum is pushing things along towards a rather interesting climax and conclusion, primarily around Gilbert and whether or not he can actually become the man he used to be. Whatever evil killed Alex is teased and looks quite demented; it's up to the creative team to follow through on that tease though.

The Standard #2 is available soon.

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