Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Comic Spot: America's Got Powers #1

Produced: Image                                       Series: 1 of 6
Writer: Jonathan Ross                               Artist: Bryan Hitch

'Welcome to AMERICA'S GOT POWERS! It's the biggest TV show on Earth, where the chance to win fame, fortune and get laid are dangled in front of a generation of super-powered teens. All they have to do is WIN. Who is the fastest, the strongest or the greatest? Who survives? Young Tommy Watt's dreams of being the greatest hero of them all might just be shattered when the greatest show on the planet begins to reveal its dark heart.'

If you're British you'll be familiar with talk show and radio presenter Jonathan Ross. He's known for his regular host of movie-star guests and his somewhat outlandish behaviour. However, what most people don't know is that he's a big comic book fan, huge. He's an avid collector and reader, and America's Got Powers is actually the second comic series he's created with the help of artist Bryan Hitch.

The idea is somewhat simple - you take the concept of the ever popular reality shows such as X-factor and Britain/America's Got Talent and infuse it with the idea of super powers. There lies the basic plot - teenagers with powers battling it out against obstacles and each other for the prize of fame and fortune and maybe a place among the world's only official Super Team.

Ross' writing is great - you really get a feel for the show. Much like the shows on television today, the world worships it and it's watched by billions around the globe. The first issue does a nice job of showing you this. The protagonist is the opposite of these super powered contestants, though affected by the same mysterious origin of the powers, he has none of the abilities or lifestyle of these revered teen idols. He simply works at the gift shop in the huge custom built arena situated right next to Alcatraz in San Francisco, and is caught in the middle of the mania.This works perfectly, as through his eyes you see the true theatre of the situation.

America's Got Powers has a strong modern day Gladiator feel to it - the crowds screaming for more danger and more action make The Running Man, amongst others, come to mind. The seeds are also planted for a darker side - the mysterious people in suits and the military behind the scenes provoke a feeling that everything isn't as perfect as it seems. As the issue unfolds the darker side becomes much more apparent.

The art by Bryan Hitch is crisp and clear, and complements the bright clean image we associate with the television shows of this nature perfectly. It has a very old school feel to it - the way the characters are drawn, their expressions and the bright colours remind me of 80s comics but with the clear detail of a modern artist. The page layout is brilliant as well - the panels often span across two pages, as well out-of-the-panel action scenes. The art is really immersive and fact boxes of the contestants are a nice touch, as they really draw you in as if you were a viewer at home.

Hitch does a first-class job of bringing Ross' ideas to life and together they make what feels to me like an 80's-esque movie. It has all the colour and imagination of a classic like Back to the Future II, where the teenage protagonist is thrown into a epic plot. I can just imagine Steven Spielberg making this into a movie and maybe that's where Ross' love of film shines though - in this first issue of a six-part mini series, I'm already reminded of the nostalgic feeling you get from watching a classic of that era.

In summary, a fantastic first issue to this series, with great art and an 80's movie feel to the story. It's got super powers, but it also has the charm and imagination of a classic story. If you're not too old for such things (and you never should be!), you'll love it!


Buy America's Got Talent from Forbidden Planet or see what Comic Spot is all about.


  1. I had no idea Jonathan Ross was a comic man, that's so cool! The only problem that I have with comics is that my local comic shop is ALWAYS full of weird sweaty boys of various ages. It makes me feel awkward about browsing, as they're very territorial and fairly hostile... I go in to get my graphic novels, and I'll like, dash in, grab what I want, and dash back out again before the smell of unwashed hormones can get me. It means I have to wait till I go to London to actually browse, which kind of sucks... :-/

    1. I do know what you mean - I think pretty much every single comic book shop is like that! I just ignore them, stalk in like I own the place and then buy three or four comics while staring the cashier down defiantly. Actually, the cashiers are usually pretty nice :)

      I like comics too much to let them put me off!

  2. I might try it - my bump is giving me newfound confidence :-p Plus nobody can be mean to me cos I'm a pregnant lady. It's pretty much against the law lol


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