Local Publisher Does Well, REALLY WELL

Posted: May 16, 2015 in Comics, Soren Scribner

By:Soren Scribner

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On Free Comic Book Day, I visited the Westheimer Bedrock City, where I met artist Jon Hughes. He was there to promote his company, Overground Comics.  Overground is a local Houston comic publisher who seem to have a pretty straight forward mission statement.  The following is a partial list of promises that they have made to their readers.

No Reboots
No Retcons
Dead is Dead
Time is Prescious

While there, Hughes, one of the co-founders of Overground, had four issues available for purchase.  I took a chance and purchased all of the issues. Here is what I thought of their offerings.

Graduate #1
Written by Jon Hughes
Drawn by Celia Calle

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At the very beginning, on the inside of the cover, they give you a crash course on the back story of the main character.  The main character’s name is Natalie Worthy, who, as they say, was an average American teenager until she found out that she was completely impervious to harm.  This description also goes on to say that the focus of the scenario in Natalie’s story, will try to answer the question of what if you were stricken with the loss of the ability to feel.  Instead of the more common threads of deciding to become a crime fighter, or running from an oppressive government that more than likely, want to lock them up in a lab.

The story starts off with Natalie on a plane flying to a special government school, after being ordered by a Judge who believed that she had what it took to be a hero.  The plane is attacked by a being with powers. The being lands on the wing and enters by destroying a section of the roof.  The mystery assailant, after attacking the passengers on the plane, leaves. Natalie is left as the only survivor and sets off to find the perpetrator.

The premise for the story laid out on the back of the cover page, and what has happened in the first issue, are intriguing. It has my attention and I like what I have seen so far.  The only major draw back I came across was the art, which wasn’t really my preferred style.  Even though I am not a big fan of the art in the book, it in no way would discourage me from thinking about continuing to read this title.

Story: 4*      Art: 2*      Overall: 3*

HeroCorp Knights #1
Written and Drawn by Jon Hughes, with assistance from Jennifer Asher

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In the Overground Comics universe the Hero Corporation has created a formula that, with one injection, anyone can become one of the most powerful people on the planet.  Anyone can come and receive the injection for free, if the injection has no effect on the person they are allowed to go on their own way.  But for those who have their powers unlocked by the injection must serve out a two year contract with HeroCorp before they are allowed to go out on their own. The most talented of these are usually invited to join the company’s flagship team of protectors, The HeroCorp Knights.  The other option to the Hero Corporation is Zero Technology.  Zero’s model is different. A person can apply for one of the positions as a paid supplement to law enforcement.  If that individual is accepted, the applicant will be given technology that will help turn them into a strong force for good.  But, only a handful get accepted out of thousands of applicants.

HeroCorp Knights begins with their Board meeting by discussing the current troubles that have befallen their rival, Zero Technology.  The primary focus of the issue though, focuses on a HeroCorp board member trying to get the captain of the Knights to reconsider adding a certain person to the team, as the leader of the team has final say on who is included in the team.  After having the request denied, he reviews other possible candidates for a position on the team.  Then later in the issue says something that could be taken as his planning to do something to the captain of the Knights.  The issue does leave off with the disappearance of someone that they have had under sedation for a decade.

The story while a bit broken is intriguing and makes you wonder what is going to happen next and who this patient zero is that escaped at the end of the issue, and what could be in store for the Captain of the Knights.  The art in the issue is quite nice for the vast majority of the issue.  The combination of the intriguing story and art work most definitely makes me interested in the next issue and see where the story leads.

Story: 4*      Art: 4*      Overall: 4*

Plus Ultra #1
Written by: Jon Hughes
Drawn by: Matthew Weldon

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Plus Ultra is a female named Kristen Kounslar who suffers from an inferiority complex,  as she feels that she is always being overlooked.  Despite the fact that she is good looking, has a good work ethic, and positive personality, she feels that she is overshadowed by women that are considered more traditionally attractive.  Feeling that she was destined for more, she winds up at HeroCorp and is bestowed with what is considered an Alpha Set of powers that included strength, speed, endurance, and near invulnerability.  With this and the addition of a blond wig, blue contacts, and a new set of clothes, Kristen becomes Plus Ultra.  Despite her new powers and fame as Plus Ultra, Kristen is still deeply insecure.

The first issue of Plus Ultra takes place in Houston, Tx. and begins with her being at a photo shoot that is to be followed by an interview, where she will tell her story. During her photo shoot she is upstaged and all attention is taken off of her as a live video streams online as a woman that is able to use electricity is “lighting up” the police.  Once she is made aware that the incident is happening in Houston, she races off to confront the lady that is causing the disturbance.  She quickly gains control of the situation, but the method that she uses ends up backfiring on her. This allows her adversary to use an interesting technique to force Ultra Plus to let her escape.

I enjoyed this story, and the under layer involving Kristen’s deep seeded feeling of being under appreciated. How she is even overshadowed on a day that is supposed to be all about her, adds a layer of humanity.  This is an interesting approach in a comic that is very rarely used by major comic publishers. It is actually a refreshing idea for part of a main story line.  Also, a nice added bonus was the art. It was pretty consistent and strong throughout the entire issue.

Story: 4.5*       Art: 4*      Overall: 4*

Absent Captain #1

Written by: Jon Hughes
Drawn by: Joshua Flower

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Absent Captain begins with an exploding penthouse apartment.  The apartment belongs to Jonathan Argos, the founder of Zero Technology. Zero created a wireless battery combined with nano technology. This system allows a person to push the laws of physics in greater degrees, depending upon how close they are to the battery. Argos is not only the head of Zero Technology, but is also Captain Zero, the leader of the Cavaliers, who protect and bring order to their city.

The first issue of Absent Captain focuses on his team trying to figure out if he is dead, and if so, who did it.  They have to figure this out while trying to make it appear that their Captain is still alive. They must also try to prove to the police, that they had nothing to do with Argos’ death. His apparent murder looks like an inside job at Zero Technology by the extraordinary manner in which the corpse appears.

Absent Captain was intriguing straight from the start.  I am looking forward to seeing if the Cavaliers will keep everyone believing that Captain Zero is still alive. Can they find out who killed him, while the police are keeping their eyes on the team? I also found the art in this story to be very nice and constant through out the entire issue.

Story:  4.5*      Art:  3.8*      Overall:  4*

I was very impressed with all of the offerings that Overground Comics presented. Not just because they all come from a small local publisher, but I would be this impressed even if these books had been released by Marvel or DC. They all live in the same universe, and while not completly intertwined, it does appear like they will play a part sporatically in each others stories.  I am looking forward to what each of the next offerings that each of these titles produce, and I highly recommend them to readers.

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Comments
  1. […] and The Graduate for the masses. We did a review on these titles back in May, which you can read right here. This week we also see our new Hulk, X-Men, and many more new and amazing titles. So, go get your […]

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