Review – The Standard #2

Since it's hard to review a second comic without divulging at least some spoilers from the first let me just say that if you continue after the break the sudden and brutal ending to the first issue of The Standard will be ruined to you. It's hard to avoid because it plays a central role in everything that happens in this second installment of a planned six issue run of The Standard.

So, read on for some spoilers and other bits from this issue – but if you don’t want that because you missed the first one then what are you waiting for!? Go get it!

Comix Tribe publishing – with the talented team of John Lees, Jonathan Rector, Gulliver Vianei, Mike Gagnon and Kel Nuttall – has us take a look at what it might be like if a human being with actual human emotions was faced with a terrible sense of guilt and loss. We get a look at Gilbert Graham’s – the original superhero called the Standard – past and it really brings him to the forefront as the main character of the book. As with all people, Graham tired of his profession and retired from the superhero life. He didn’t lose his powers as far as we know; he just did something that all human beings do- he got old.

When you're the Standard and you decide to become a celebrity, suddenly your enemies know your secret identity. What’s worse is that when you are the former sidekick of a celebrity, saved from death as a child by a serum that gives you superpowers that wear off you're setting yourself up for bad things.

This was how Alex Thomas – known as Fabu-Lad when he was the sidekick for the original Standard – became a celebrity, but also how he met his untimely demise in a rather gruesome way. When issue #1 ended with such a horrific ending it came as a total shock to me. Needless to say, Gilbert Graham is equally shocked when he is told.

Alex had always felt guilty about one case that he never got the chance to solve, the case of the missing child Amy Harris. Unfortunately, there is a greater problem in the city and children are disappearing at a very rapid pace. We're treated to a few panels that offer a glimpse into who might be taking them, but it isn’t like anyone has found them yet.

This is the task that has drawn Gilbert back in to becoming The Standard once more. While externally he looks to be an old man, I have no doubt that he retains some pretty epic powers. When we mix in Alex’s dubious relationship with a woman who heads up the requisite ominous corporate entity Zarthos Industries – a company whose former owner apparently battled with Gilbert back in the day – with another gruesome killing by our mysterious assassin that took out Alex and a flashy agent with a heart of gold, you have multiple storylines that all seem to be connected although it's hard to say how.

You see, this comic shows us what happens when a hero gets old but still has his powers. While I’m not trying to compare The Standard to Watchmen, that title is the only other one I can think of where we get a good look at a superhero‘s life after being a hero. Sometimes, such as with Pixar’s The Incredibles we get a comedic look at life after herodom – not a word but I’m okay with that – but in this book we learn what it would take to bring a man back in. We connect with the character that is forced to don his outfit once more in the face of personal loss. Why? Because the world needs The Standard.

Check The Standard #2 out now, and if you read this and haven’t gotten #1 yet, I promise you’ll still enjoy it even after you brazenly ignored my spoiler warning. So grab that one too. Happy reading!