Review - Idolized #2

Realty shows continue to hold a grip on popular culture for whatever reason, but few of them match the sheer insanity of a superhero contest. It's a good thing there's books like Idolized #2 from Aspen Comics to fill that void.

The issue is written by David Schwartz, with pencils by Micah Gunnell and Pasquale Qualano, colors by David Curiel and letters by Josh Reed.

In the quest for revenge, Leslie has chosen the reality show path. While Leslie continues to vie for one of the coveted ten spots on the show, she's confronted with facing herself. It's not quite the battle she was expecting when signing up to join the show, but it's one that's been shown she has to win in order to advance.

While dealing with her own internal strife and coming to grips with her choices, she's also forced to deal with external stressors; namely, the judges, audiences and other contestants. The interplay between fighting both the internal and external factors leads to a more resilient Leslie/Joule. Only by the end of the issue, it may all end up being for naught.

Schwartz has made the second issue more about playing the game to advance and less about backstory. Between the zero and first issues, readers were given enough about Leslie's motivation to understand why she's doing what she's doing. In the second issue though, it's more about what she has to do to succeed, not why she's doing it.

It's an interesting progression in the storyline that lampoons the concept behind reality shows. There's obviously reality in them in that they're "unscripted," but the show aspect holds sway as well. Networks want viewers and if a show's not bringing in viewers, it's as good as canceled. Schwartz making the second issue all about liking Leslie works really well within the context of the entire story.

Gunnell and Qualano continue to impress with the art. Leslie is illustrated the strongest, always wrecking shop in battle and looking good doing it. This issue does feature some intense battle sequences and while none of them are nearly as intricate as those in, say, America's Got Powers, they're still hectic enough where the artistic talent shines through.

There are some shots where Leslie is depicted a little too voluptuously, but perhaps her rendering is speaking to what one of the judges in the issue said: "muscles, boobs and battles...that's what sells." Granted, most of the contestants in the series are beautiful people, so full credit if the creative team is looking to capitalize on that notion for the sake of the book's honesty.

The concept of a reality show being used as a vehicle for revenge is interesting and Idolized #2 continues doing a great job with it. Clearly, the ending of the issue will likely be explained in the interest of continuing the series, but watching Leslie struggle with the entirety of her participation is fascinating. This is a solid series so far.

Idolized #2 is in stores September 26 with interiors below.