Super Powers is a lot of things. It’s fun. It’s bright. It’s colorful.
It’s silly. It’s crazy. It’s funny.
It’s a simple, light-hearted all-ages book that advocates the virtues of goodness and heroism.
It’s a celebration of the entire DC Universe, with the universe itself serving as the main character.
And that is precisely why I loved it. Super Powers is a comic book that exists simply for the joy of reading comic books. It’s not interested in universe-shattering Crises or shocking revelations (though it contains both). All Super Powers wants to be is a good time, and that’s precisely what it is.
In its final issue, the series sees the heroes engage in battle with Darkseid and his hordes of Parademons. That’s pretty much the extent of what happens: save for a quick epilogue, this is wall to wall action. It’s rendered in the two-dimensional, Saturday morning cartoon style of Art Baltazar, but what it may lack in minute details it more than makes up for in referential details. Keep in mind that Baltazar and Franco are guys who brought back Golden Pharaoh, a character who makes his third comics appearance here. They’re willing to go super-obscure for the sake of a gag, and their love for and knowledge of the most bizarre parts of the universe is part of what makes their books so much fun. For the final battle, they throw every character they can into the fray.
And I do mean everyone.
They’re super-puppies! Who doesn’t love that?
Granted, it’s not like Baltazar and Franco are working with a cast of thousands or even hundreds. It’s a small cast, but a diverse one at that. You’ve got the expected characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash, then fan-favorite second-tier Leaguers like Firestorm and Hawkman. Then
Shazam Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel make an appearance. And that Golden Pharaoh guy.
Oh, and did you forget that the Green Lantern they use is B’dg? Because I didn’t.
I keep coming back to the toy comparison, and I still think it fits: this is a loose story, like one kids would come up with while playing with their action figures, and they throw in every character they can grab. It’s a tribute to the innocence and joy of simply enjoying your heroes and having them win the day no matter the odds.
It’s pretty funny, too, so that’s a bonus.
No lie, I laughed so hard at “Mr. Freeze-face!” It’s such a silly joke I couldn’t help myself. Side note, though: my one complaint about Baltazar’s artwork is his Killer Croc design. He looks more like Fuzzy Fish Guy than a crocodile man/dude with a skin condition, though that’s how he’s always drawn him so at least it’s consistent. Still, most of the other designs are solid to downright wonderful so it’s no big deal.
If things end a bit abruptly and anticlimactically, that’s ok. Baltazar and Franco have never been shy on setting up future stories in their growing continuity, and that’s how they leave things here. In the end, though, the good guys win, the bad guys are apprehended, and a great time is had by creators and fans alike. What more could you really ask for?
Besides maybe the Secret Oranges of the Justice League. Next time.
- You want a solid, clean, all-ages comic book.
- You want to have fun.
- You want to see heroes being heroes, beating the bad guys without being morose or drowned in cynicism.
Overall: Pure joy from beginning to end, Super Powers perfectly captures the joy of reading comic books and is just plain fun. The look is bright and colorful, the action is breezy and entertaining, and the writing is both funny and reverent. What the story lacks in depth it more than makes up for in knowledge of the DC Universe, and it’s a “good vs. evil” morality tale that is sweet without being saccharine. Give these guys more to do, DC, because at this point I’ll read anything Baltazar and Franco put out.