Review - America's Got Powers #2

Realty TV is considered to be a downside of humanity. Often, it depicts relatively mindless people overacting for the sake of attention and the promise of a lucrative book/movie/music/etc. deal. In the world of America's Got Powers though, reality TV takes on a whole new meaning: combat to the death.

America's Got Powers #2 is the second issue in the series published by Image Comics. It's written by Jonathan Ross and illustrated by Bryan Hitch, with inks by Andrew Currie and Paul Neary, Paul Mounts on colors and Chris Eliopoulos as the letterer.

The second issue of America's Got Powers takes a look at the dynamic at work between the Powers themselves and the people in charge. Tommy Watts is a hot commodity, even hotter on the heels of his impromptu showing in the arena that left both viewers and show organizers shocked at what he could do. It was previously assumed that only his older brother, Bobby, had powers, but what Tommy showed was more than nothing. It was a whole lot of awesome.

The powers that be behind the show though aren't too keen on having Tommy run amok and are struggling to get a grip on what exactly he can do. They're typical media power players, content to bend everything to their will in the name of profits and high ratings and will do whatever it takes to get Tommy to fight, even though he doesn't want to.

Tommy's attraction to Debbie is also shown here. Debbie is another Power who's known Tommy since high school and the two share a kindred spirit. It helps that they're both Powers and it's interesting to see how they're both using their abilities (or knowledge thereof). Tommy doesn't really know what he's capable of and fights out necessity, while Debbie leads a sort of Powers Anonymous group that helps others keep theirs in check.

Ross's world in America's Got Powers is one of deep seeded fear, bordering on segregation. It's not necessarily a new premise, as it's something the X-Men have tackled pretty much since their inception. There's good backstory showing Tommy's relationship with his brother seven years prior, as well as the uneasiness among those without powers. Powers were integrated into schools and dealt with the requisite fear by the ignorant.

Tommy's relationship with his brother Bobby though is what really drives this issue. Bobby Watts was one of the starts of the show until his untimely demise, which happens to be why neither Tommy nor him mom want him to fight. It's a powerful motivating factor and one that both family members think is relatively bulletproof, until Tommy's mom is shown something completely shocking that changes her mind.

Hitch's art is just as stellar in the second issue as it is the first. There aren't nearly as many arena scenes in this issue, but there are still a few fights going on as well as a rather extensive training scene where Tommy's archnemesis vows revenge on Tommy. There's a filter over the illustrations that adds some grit to them and creates this sort of dirty world, a testament to the changed society that inhabits the pages.

We're a third of the way through the six-issue series and things are still moving along swimmingly. Tommy's reservations about fighting may be lifted after the events in this issue, while he's got to watch his back both in the arena and out. It'll be interesting to see if Tommy's views really come to a head against the show executives in the end.

For now though, enjoy the notion of kids being forced to fight one another for ratings. It seems to be all the rage these days.

America's Got Powers #2 hits stores May 30 and interiors are below.