For myself, and I dare say many other discerning comicbook readers, the first three issues of a new ongoing series are crucial. If a comic hasn’t won me over by issue number three, it’s unlikely I will continue to read it. In case there was any doubt that I would be continuing on with Grace Randolph’s Supurbia after this three issue probation (and for the record there wasn’t), Supurbia #3 seals the deal and delivers what is easily the best issue of the series so far. Supurbia #3 really lives up to its publisher’s namesake. It’s bold, it’s big, and every page hits you with an almighty BOOM!
The issue picks up directly from where Supurbia #2 left us, with reporter Hayley Harper finding ‘reformed’ super villain Helen Heart living with Sovereign. What follows is a bloody cat-fight that consumes roughly half the issue. It is surprisingly brutal and all wonderfully brought to life by the art of Russell Dauterman. Dauterman’s art really pops in this issue as his more comical style begins to adapt and take on a gritty edge that immediately reminded me of John Romita Jr.’s art on Kick-Ass. Also there’s blood, lots of blood.
Meanwhile Eli and Jeremy find themselves running from the Daughters of Bright Moon, Agent Twilight comes out of the closet on national television, Tia begs Cosmic Champion to let her be a costumed crime fighter again and Sara and Zari get an unexpected house guest. If this all seems like a lot of ground to cover in 22 pages that’s because it is. To say Supurbia #3 is a busy issue would be quite the understatement.
Just like the super heroes she portrays, Randolph is in some ways her own worst enemy. In an attempt to cut out fat and filler Supurbia leans too far in the opposite direction as it attempts to cover too much ground in too little time. I applaud Randolph’s dedication to fans in trying to deliver an exciting and potent story but it results in significant moments, like Eli picking a dragon companion, being over far too quickly. What could have easily warranted four pages is instead crammed into two and what should have been an epic moment becomes a mere side-note.
However, even with this pacing problem Supurbia #3 is a stand out issue for all the right reasons. In Supurbia #3 Randolph delivers darker story twists and a more mature tone without detracting from the playfulness and humour of the earlier installments. In particular the Helen Heart and Sovereign storyline really took me by surprise not only with its outcome (which I honestly didn’t see coming) but also with the disturbing insight it provides into the relationship between the two characters.