Review - Critter #1 (@AspenComics)

"Nice to meet you Cassia...welcome to the universe!"

Farm life is boring for many. The daily responsibilities have a way of taking a toll on youths living that life, contending with growing up a social being in an environment that's not exactly the most social. Add to that superhero abilities and things are even more difficult, as they are for Cassia in Critter #1 from Aspen Comics. The issue is written by Tom Hutchison, illustrated by Fico Ossio and lettered by Kel Nuttall.

As a young girl, Cassia grew up as a tomboy who learned karate, ran track and took gymnastics. One day when a little girl is kidnapped for ransom, she finds out that she might have what it takes to be a superhero. But, little does she know that being a hero was always in her blood.

Critter #1 is an issue that feels a little in limbo. Hutchison does a good job of creating a character in Cassia who's grappling with all the trappings of being a youth, in addition to having superpowers. In that sense, it's more or less a typical, coming of age superhero story. Hutchison offers some differences though in the form of altered pasts and futures, giving Cassia an in-depth knowledge of various timelines. Hutchison uses this as a way of giving the story a slight twist so it's more than just the aforementioned coming of age tale. There are glimpse of superhero combat and teams-ups, as well as secret identities, throughout the issue that Hutchison uses to weave together a tighter story.

Artistically, has a look to it that's 90s inspired. Ossio renders Cassia as extremely buxom, taking plenty of panels as opportunities to accentuate her physique. It's not blatantly oversexed, but it's pretty close and Cassia comes across as something that somewhat undercuts her presentation as a superhero. Ossio's panel layouts are very busy, as he eschews traditional layouts for plenty of insets and overlays. Still, the action is pretty easy to follow and Ossio handles everything from frenetic street fights to hospital room visits pretty evenly.

Critter #1 is an interesting comic that has a 90s sensibility to it. As a lead, Cassia has some aspects of her personality that are appealing and her newfound responsibilities will force her to adapt in some regards. Hutchison's script moves pretty freely and sets things up for further action down the road. Ossio's art is a little on the hypersexed side, but the action is easy enough to follow. Critter #1 is a pretty straightforward book that doesn't really delve too deeply into the inner workings of a character struggling with a dual identity.

Critter #1 is in stores now.