There’s been numerous comic series that have launched that are deconstructions or explorations of the superhero. Many have gone on to be praised and considered modern classics. Some have fallen a bit flat. There’s also a point where you wonder if there’s anything new to explore. Penultiman #1 is a worthy entry in that genre taking a different angle exploring superheroes.
Written by Tom Peyer, Penultiman #1 explores a hero who has no confidence. He’s Superman who has been taken being cast out as a blow. Sent back in time from the future, he seems to be on a mission to prove himself worthy to return but taking it all a bit personal resulting in a bit of self-hatred.
Peyer gives us an interesting take on the concept. This is a hero who’s driven by a desire of approval from parents he thinks have rejected him. That lack of confidence extends to his alter-ego whose stumbling doesn’t come off as much as an attempt to protect his secret identity as it does an extension of his personal issues.
But, it feels like it wouldn’t be a comic from AHOY if it took itself too seriously. Peyer infuses the comic with a lot of humor. By the end of the issue it’s clear that this isn’t quite going to be a serious look at the superhero psyche but instead a humorous play on it all. We’ll find out more with the second issue of course.
That humorous tone is helped by the art of Alan Robinson who’s joined by Lee Loughridge on color and Rob Steen with lettering. The modern world of Penultiman is what you might expect with superheroes. It’s nice to look at and the designs are fun. But, there’s the future where things are… odd. That’s the point I realized the comic wasn’t as serious as it might be. The designs there are just weird and funny, and add a bit of quirk to the comic that helps drag it back into the world of fun and not so dour. The art “lifts” the comic in a way and adds enjoyment to the story.
As it’s an AHOY comic, the issue is packed with extras including three prose entries from Kek-W, Chris Lundy, and Philip Ellis, and art by Rob Steen, Joe Orsak, and Elliot Mattice. These are all entertaining and a bit all over in content but to me, it’s the bonus for a comic I’d buy otherwise. It “adds value” to something I’d already get and read.
Penultiman #1 is an interesting comic with what feels like a new take on the examination of the superhero. It does it as well without taking itself too seriously. The combination of something to say with some humor feels welcome in the space and where the series goes should be interesting. It’s definitely a comic to keep an eye on and might be one that gets folks buzzing.
Story: Tom Peyer, Kek-W, Chris Lundy, Philip Ellis Art: Alan Robinson, Rob Steen, Joe Orsak, Elliot Mattice
Color: Lee Loughridge Letterer: Rob Steen
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
AHOY Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review