Name your comic Steel Cage and you immediately have my attention. As a long-time wrestling fan and journalist, you are talking my language, if you know what the Powell is cooking.
The unforgiving, unmerciful steel cage match is THE battleground where bitter feuds are settled in wrestling. Ahoy Comics is using a similar concept to decide which of three potential ideas in a one-shot comic will be expanded into a full series.
In a campaign reminiscent Stan Lee’s efforts to bring a sense of community to the Marvel Comics brand, readers will be able to vote at https://comicsahoy.com/vote to decide which Steel Cage comic will stand victorious.
In the red corner from the team of Tom Peyer (DC Comics/Vertigo editor, Legion of Super-Heroes) and Alan Robinson (Back to the Future, Mars Attacks) is True Identity.
A mash-up of Superman and Firestorm, True Identity tells the story of troubled superhero on Earth. Penultiman has the power to transform one element to another, like when he turns a devastating explosion into fireworks for children to marvel at.
We learn that Penultiman is an evolved human sent from the far future back to 2019. With the intellect of a teenager, Penultiman is still discovering who he is and what his role should be.
I’m not a big fan of the hero’s name but the story itself is a clear, concise, and intriguing lead-in.
In the blue corner we’ve got Bright Boy, created by Stuart Moore (Civil War novelization, Web of Spider-Man, Firestorm and Detective Comics) and Peter Gross (Lucifer, The Books of Magic).
The “Bright Boy” of the title is the world’s smartest man. Doctor Litman is what Doctor Frankenstein would get if he transplanted the ego of Doctor Doom into Mister Fantastic. The U.S. government employs Litman as a fixer to quell any crisis that threatens mankind. However, his miracles come with a price. People are barbecued like T-bone steaks at a Canada Day cookout when Litman lights up like a nuclear blast after he exercises his brain cells. Not a good thing. Not a good thing at all.
In the white corner is Noah Zark, created by comic book veteran and New York Times bestselling writer Mark Waid (Kingdom Come) and Lanna Souvanny (My Little Pony and Steven Universe).
Noah Zark is light-hearted fare that has more of an anime feel when compared to the other two stories. The pint-sized Zark is the captain of a space ship that acts as an ark for assorted alien animals. The animals’ cruel captors continue to pursue Zark as he returns the animals one-at-a-time to their home planets. The work of an unnamed colourist really brings Souvanny’s buoyant and care-free art to life. Every panel really leaps off the page.
I cast my vote for True Identity simply because I love Penultiman’s origin story. The brief overture left me with so many questions I would like the answers to.
All in all, this one-shot exemplifies why Ahoy Comics is a publisher to watch out for. Unlike the mainstream publishers, Ahoy has proven they are willing to take risks separating them from the pack. Steel Cage #1 is an innovative way for the company to keep their fingers on the pulse of their readership. It’s wonderful to see Ahoy moving the industry forward while paying respect to the innovations of the past which strengthened the comic book community by bringing fans together.
- THE GOOD
- Three stories for the price of one.
- Readers pick the winner.
- The trio of stories will appeal to all manner of comic book fan.
- THE BAD
- Not a fan of the pale colours used on the cover. It doesn’t bring attention to the book.
Gimmicks aside this is a very good book in itself giving readers a taste of what’s to come from Ahoy Comics.