Pullbox Reviews: Ella Upgraded

Ella Upgraded (Zebra Comics – Whitehead / Dedelis / Bulmer / Campbell)

When 11-year-old Ella is in an accident, her scientist brother saves her life by putting her beloved GameBox console in her brain! Now Ella can gain the skills and abilities of her favorite video game characters…but does she have what it takes to become a real superhero?

Ella Upgraded is a fast, fun and family friendly action comic with a classic Silver Age morality and a very modern attitude.

Issue #1 of Ella Upgraded is one of the newest comics from writer Dan Whitehead and artist P.R. Dedelis. It tells the story of Ella, a high school girl who spends more time with video games than she does in the real world. After a terrible accident she receives the powers from her favorite video games. Readers get to watch her discover how to use and control her powers for the good of her city and to protect her family. This light hearted superhero origin story is a great read for any fan who enjoys action, comedy, and superheros of course. This comic is especially relevant for a younger audience looking for a Marvel-like tale of an average girl doing something big. 

Whitehead created a very relatable character who can reach others that may be going through some of the same situations as her. For example, one of the most relatable aspects is that most teens and kids today spend the majority of their lives with their faces buried in their phones and devices. Having a character that people can relate to makes it easier to suspend the reader’s disbelief and indulge in the comic. 

In addition to a great first comic of their superhero tale, the work from Dedelis and letterist Jim Campbell compliments the story perfectly.  I think that most of the time lettersits don’t get the recognition they deserve because their job requires just as much time as everyone else’s. If the letters did not match with the rest of the story, the entire comic would be thrown off. I would give the story overall a 4. 

One thing that I always look for and find interesting in comic books in the artist’s choice in color schemes and patterns. Some artists use primary colors throughout their comics to portray a lighter story, while other artists use dark colors to coincide with a dark and brooding tale. Color is one of the main elements of a story that tells readers how they should be feeling. A lot of recently released comics incorporate so many different color schemes and patterns that it makes the overall message and feeling confused, making it hard for the reader to focus and then distracting from the story. I was getting a very technology driven vibe from the story overall, and I feel like the color schemes fit the message very well. With mixes of vibraint and dark tones I felt like the color combination was reminiscent of 90s video games. It was very original and for that I give it a 4. 

This comic was entertaining, fun, and creative, there is no doubt that this comic deserves high marks on all accounts for a total of 13. Overall this is a very fun comic reminiscent of a traditional superhero origin story with a new age flair.

Reviewed by Lily (TPB Intern)

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