Saturday 7 March 2015

Book/Comic Review: Strong Female Protagonist

Starting originally as a web series, Strong Female Protagonist was backed by many on KickStarter to get it in print. Alison Green is one of the most powerful superheroes around, with incredible strength. She used to fight the bad guys with her other superhero friends under the name MegaGirl when she was a teen, but things got overwhelming and after publicly unmasking on tv, everyone knows her real identity. But now Alison is in college, trying to get good grades while also trying to fight crime at the same time. 

Now that everyone knows the real face of MegaGirl, its hard for her to have a burger in peace without people wanting autographs or shouting abuse at her on the street. No one really understands that being a superhero doesn't automatically mean you can fix everything for the world. Even her collage professor is failing her because of a personal grudge against her powers. As Alison lives life, she somewhat learns to come to terms with the positives and negatives of being a superhero. But the process is genuinely heartbreaking in places and this is - hand over heart - one of the first comics I might have shed a tear while reading. (And I've read some intense heart ache comic scenes.) Theres a real appeal to a superhero with amazing power and strength thats got lots of flaws too. - And a mom who calls at bad times when your in the middle of something important. 

 However at the beginning I found it dragged a little and there was nothing particularly attention grabbing. I think this is partly due to not knowing anything about the back story before starting it (which I soon found out was pointless in moaning about as the back story is wonderfully explained through out the comic, just at the right times) and partly because I was reading it from a digital copy on a crappy adobe reader. But stick with it, the best part was not only the main character being female with some fantastic minor characters, but I especially loved the funny foot notes that give back story, commentary on the characters, deconstruction of the panels or random jokes to add a giggle. On one page the author pokes fun at their attention to detail of chocolate bars. In short, the footnotes please me greatly and Brennan Mulligan is being bought a drink by me if he ever pops over to Ireland. Gas man altogether.

Theres so much back story that you become privy to as the story unfolds and even thought I had never read the web series, I never felt lost with the story. There is something for everyone to relate to with family, friends, relationships and even Alisons struggles with super villains. A Buffy mix with a little destructive She Hulk, this is the type of comic I will be a regular to in future. And of course, not leaving Molly Ostertag out, I found the drawing simply and easy to enjoy. There was no colour needed, with each panel flowing well and the occasional insert an added bonus. (Inserts in single panels can confuse the hell out of me. If I get any worse I'll need it numbered. Now that would be a sad day.) Theres no fussy extreme attention to detail and Molly seems more interested in telling the story, not distracting from it. 

Yup, all round big thumbs up from me. I got this from NetGallery, but I'll be getting a physical copy to add to the collection. I'll also be following them online, which you can find over here.

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