Review - Idolized #3

The superpowered reality competition continues with Joule on the verge of disqualification. That was last issue, bringing things to the present in Idolized #3 from Aspen Comics.

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

Joule faced the death of her parents at the hands of an evil villain, which led her on quite a bender. It's that bender that almost got her disqualified from the competition. It is a reality TV show, which means that her story equals ratings and a reason to stick around. Things got a little better for Joule throughout the third issue, with her fighting and scrapping her way through the competition. Suffice it to say, she gets pretty far in the show and gets to experience the latest twist in the show. Joule just can't seem to catch a break.

If there was ever a montage in a comic book, it's Idolized #3. Schwartz glosses over a lot of the competition, seemingly for the sake of setting Joule against Statis in an inevitable showdown. That's not a detriment to the issue or series, but it doesn't really give the story much time to breathe as a reality show competition. The series backdrop is a reality show competition and Schwartz relies on it as such, making Joule's story the one that's front and center.

Joule is the primary character of the series and, obviously, gets most of the spotlight. It probably wouldn't hurt if Schwartz gave some of the other characters more time than just a few brief interactions with Joule. Developing the other characters a bit more is helpful and shows up in small doses, but it would really help put Joule's decisions in context if the reader knew a bit more about some of the other contestants.

Qualano's art really pops, showcasing a wide variety of would-be superheroes. Joule especially carries the look of what reality shows want to see in their contestants. There are some panels where she's illustrated very voluptuously (one could argue a little too much), which ensures readers know she's the focal point of the comic. There are more great panels depicting fight scenes as well, mixed in with the less exciting reality show segments.

Idolized is a quality comic, one of Aspen's best out right now. Joule's struggles are framed elegantly against the somewhat banal trappings that typically accompany a reality show competition. Everyone is in it for their own gain, with Joule's obviously the one with the greatest stakes. It'd be nice if we knew more about the other contestants to give us even more reason to root for Joule.

Idolized #3 is in stores October 24 with interiors below.