In Review: Mighty Man #1

A fun one-shot that's accessible to new readers.

The cover: Mighty Man is visibly upset as he flies through the ruins of the city, one fist powering up, the other grasping in frustration. Behind him is SuperPatriot firing off repeated rounds from two arm guns. Good introductory cover to the leads of this one-shot from Nikos Koutsis. I like the look on the title character and the curve of the buildings to show perspective, but the colors are too light. A darker background would have made the characters stand out much more; with everything so light, the colors blend in to each other. Overall grade: B-

The story: This is a complete story broken into three chapters, written by MM’s creator, Erik Larsen. “In the Heat of Battle!” opens the book in a broken section of the city with Mighty Man looking nervously for others. SuperPatriot appears from around a corner and shouts, “Here I am!” and fires off several rounds which pound the hero. Mighty Man screams, “Hey! No fair! I wasn’t ready!” He recovers from the shots and speeds down to attack the cybernetically enhanced hero. “That’s not how the game is played, Mighty Man. You should know that.” He avoids the flying title character, informing him how villains attack. Unfortunately, he includes gunfire with his instruction, accidentally collapsing a building onto Mighty Man. This stops the veteran hero who becomes instantly concerned. “Mighty Man? Elizabeth? Honey, are you okay?” This is a training session for Mighty Man, who is actually a seven-year-old girl named Betty Bradford. The fight continues until the timely arrival of the most famous of Larsen’s characters. The second chapter is titled “War Games!” and features Barbaric and Ricochet from Freak Force with a funny ending. The final chapter is “A Force to Be Reckoned With!” with Freak Force appearing to battle alongside Mighty Man to take down some mongrels. All three chapters show how Betty is adapting as the newest Mighty Man. She’s got a ways to go to becoming a perfect hero, but her heart is in the right place. Watching how the veteran characters deal with her is great, and I’m a big fan of Freak Force, so any opportunity to see them in action is something I relish. Overall grade: A

The art: Nikos Koutsis handles the visuals of this book well. Mighty Man has the emotional range of a seven-year-old on the opening pages, foreshadowing the reveal of his true identity. I especially like his lip bite of unease on the first page splash. The city is also well drawn, looking completely in shambles. SuperPatriot is an agile character, and Koutsis shows him to be nimble as he trains MM. When the building crumbles, the look of dread on SuperPatriot is nicely done, which is no small feat considering the character wears a mask that shows no eyes or mouth. The tease of the character on Page 5 is enough for fans to know who it is before the reveal on 6. When Betty is shown she couldn’t look more angelic or innocent to the reader. The splash on 9 is a great image of Mighty Man punching Barbaric. Watching the two wail on each other is epic, and Ricochet’s inclusion allows Koutsis to include some terrific motion that Barbaric is incapable of. As much as I enjoyed their tussle, it’s the final panel that’s memorable with the characters looking appropriately worried. The final chapter is the best of the issue because of the design of the villains. Without spoiling things, they look incredible. They are introduced in another full paged splash and they are eating up the scenery! This is followed by a double-paged spread of MM, SuperPatriot, and Freak Force going into battle. They all look good, but the spread of bullets really makes this image, and the characters, stand out. The layout of the two pages that follow are four equal sized panels on a page that contain some slick action that is reminiscent of Jack Kirby’s classic fights. I like the visuals on this book and hope that Koutsis gets to return to these characters again soon. Overall grade: A

The colors: Not only is Nikos Koutsis responsible for the art of this issue, he also does the coloring. The book is very colorful but with colors that are too light. The first page has colors are unquestionably dynamic, but they are so light that the colors blend into each other: Mighty Man’s face is too similar to his hair and chest emblem, making things a blob. When SuperPatriot attacks, the panels contain so much yellow and orange it’s difficult to make out what’s occurring. Things improve when the fighting stops, but should the dialogue scenes be more discernible than the fights? The same problems happen when the battle with Barbaric occurs: his skin is too similar to the bright oranges used for backgrounds: check out the second panel on Page 11 and the first panel on 12 to see this in action. Much better are the colors in the final chapter. Some brighter coloring on the characters against lighter backgrounds would have improved several scenes in this book. Overall grade: B-

The letters: Chapter titles, dialogue, the book’s credits, yells, sounds, and a television broadcast are Ferran Delgado’s contributions to this book. The chapter titles are done in a classic 1970’s super hero font, instantly giving this book a familiar flavor. The dialogue is easy to read and allows the yells to be powerful when someone does some screaming. I really like the bolded font used for yells, with the letters a, t, and c getting jagged on their ends. The sounds on this book look terrific for all the varieties used, with many coming to life on Pages 18 and 19. Delgado does a good job on this book. Overall grade: A

The final line: A fun one-shot that’s accessible to new readers. Mighty Man gets his long overdue book and it’s full of action and solid laughs. Overall grade: A-

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Mighty-Man/digital-comic/483370?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
One Comment
  • Ferran Delgado
    11 April 2017 at 3:35 pm -

    Thanks for the kind words! It’s nice that lettering gets some love! I imitated the look of the legendary letterer Artie Simek in Marvel comics at the end of the 60s and beginning of the 70s, nice catch!

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