Pullbox Reviews S.H.A.G. – The Super Heroes Guild of America: Infinite Crisis (in PR)

  • S.H.A.G. (Super Heroes of America Guild)
  • Created, Written, & Illustrated by Justin Pearson
  • Colors by Amanda Brewer
  • Lettered with the help of Blambot
  • Coming soon to Kickstarter

After a series of incidents turns public opinion against S.H.A.G., they seek help in the form of PR expert extraordinaire, Molly Moran!

But it won’t be easy for them, as a figure operating in the shadows is orchestrating their downfall, the team themselves aren’t great at public speaking, and they still have super villains to deal with! And did we mention Molly is dating Tanner Pillips, who is secretly team leader, Solar-Max? We didn’t, well, spoilers! Sorry!

It’s the Avengers meets Parks and Rec in this superhero workplace comedy, written and illustrated by Justin Pearson, with color and design assists by Amanda Brewer and James Lloyd-Knox.

There are a lot of superhero comics out there. No, I mean it! Take a look at the shelves and see for yourself, it’s totally a thing. There are also quite a few tongue-in-cheek comedies & satirical works. If I really wanted to break it down, there are liable to be a few comics that combine the two (check out C.R.I.T. from Homebrewed Heroes, for one). I like a skewed spin on old tropes, so going into S.H.A.G., I was pretty open to the oddball premise.

Confession: I didn’t really get into Parks & Rec

Another confession: I had a great time reading S.H.A.G.

Before we go too far, I’m gonna point out that there will be people who are going to complain about Justin Pearson’s art. Keeping the spirit of this book in mind, I’m just going to ask those folk to settle down and take a breath. Creator/writer/illustrator Pearson isn’t aiming to unseat Jim Lee from his spot at DC. He’s just making a light-hearted comic with a smattering of social commentary and some laugh-out-loud moments. The art may not be polished, but it fits perfectly with the fast & loose style of the story and Pearson has a great handle on layouts and design. Take that with his knack for landing the sight gags, and the whole thing works.

The beauty in Pearson’s story is that it’s very much aware of itself. Along with the sight gags, he drops a text-box narrative that is very much in tribute to the old Marvel Bullpen style. There are notes to the reader, explaining some references, commenting on others, and occasionally taking a snide jab at its own shortcomings. That by itself made this book easy to love. Another thing to remember is that while this is a story about superheroes, it’s not a superhero story. Most of the pages are dedicated to showing the Guild dealing with the day-to-day grind and the fickle nature of their notoriety (fans turning on what they claim to be fans of… pretty far-fetched, huh?).

Another great part of Pearson’s work is his dialogue. I’ve pointed out in other reviews that writing solid, natural-sounding dialogue is one of the toughest things to get right. Pearson gives his cast of characters individual voices & personalities, and all of that comes through in S.H.A.G. They bicker, drop mildly inappropriate jokes & movie references… they act like friends as well as teammates.

Set to go live on March 1st, readers will be able to get their mitts on the collected edition, the complete story arc (so far) for the Super Heroes of America Guild. In the meantime, take a look at the examples of what I’ve been talking about and see if you can’t find something to latch onto.

Final Score: 11/13

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