We all know that Superman’s alter-ego is a news reporter in the bustling city of Metropolis. A cover like that keeps him close to all of the breaking news that may need the attention of a super powerful super hero. Same goes with Spider-Man; as Peter Parker, he snaps pictures of the happenings of New York City, ever vigilant of some ne’er do well that could use a walloping. But what if super heroes decided to play it a little closer to the chest? What if, instead of residing in the big city amidst all the hustle and bustle, they decided to move out to the quiet suburbs, achieving the American dream of the white picket fence and 2.5 children?
That’s the approach BOOM! Studios takes in their new title, Supurbia. Each of the member of the Meta Legion, Sovereign, Night Fox, Batu, Marine Omega, Bulldog and the Cosmic Champion, have moved into a quiet street away from the city they protect. As a way to stay together and remain a team, the city block acts as the perfect façade for their super heroing activities, with their base of operations sprawling beneath the homes. “Couldn’t one of your enemies blow up the street?” asks one of the characters, Eve, Bulldog’s newly wedded wife? Sure, but as the street they live on is indistinguishable from any other street in any other town in America, how would the bad guys know they have the right street?
A clever play on the super hero genre, Supurbia takes a look at the lives of the super heroes as opposed to the big, Earth-shattering battles. Sovereign, the stoic protector of the world, has married an reformed villain, a strange pairing considering the unwavering good Sovereign deals with. Or maybe not, once clues to his emotional state are slowly revealed. Night Fox’ wife, Alexis Fritsche, is the CEO of the Fritsche Foundation, a billion dollar corporation that leveraged the power of the hero. However, Night Fox is living with a secret that he’s kept from his wife, one that may not only destroy his marriage, but his super hero career as well.
All of the marriages in the book suffer from their own dysfunctionalities, from the wife who lives in her husbands shadow, to the wife who must act as caretaker to an elderly, bed-ridden man. Once their home lives are placed under a microscope, these heroes come off much less super. And given that each one of them are based on fan-favorite characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Captain America, it’s easy to see how the heroes we’ve loved for years could be reduced to such simple every-men and women.
Don’t get me wrong, though. The drama may be based on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, but at heart this is a super hero book. The twist ending is sure to open up volumes of stories and allow the writers to really elaborate on the lives and histories of the characters. The stars of the book may be based on existing characters, but there are any number of directions they can go. Grace Randolph has created a fun book, one that is full of good writing and clever dialogue. She look at the idea of being married to a super hero and doesn’t romanticize it like other writers in the past have. At the end of the day, you take the backseat to saving the world.
Russell Dauterman does a fantastic job on the art. He has a keen storytelling sense which allows the panels to flow organically. He sprinkles the pages with enough backstory for each character, allowing the readers to get a sense of the kind of hero they are, without having to reduce the writer to unnecessary info-dumps and anecdotal soliloquies. The pairing of Randolph and Dauterman works well and kudos to BOOM! for matching up these two creators.
While I wouldn’t have imagine I would be able to relate to Supurbia as I’m really not a fan of those Housewives shows that pollute the basic cable channels, I really found the first issue to be a fun romp. Though it could have easily turned into a one-trick pony, there is definitely more story to be told. Does Supurbia have the kind of longevity to help makes these characters a household name? Maybe, but I really don’t think that’s the point. As long as readers enjoy the story, which I think they will, then their work here is done.