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Super Zero #1

Writer/Creators Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist Rafael De Latorre
Colorist Marcelo Maiolo
Aftershock Comics

Back in college, I took a course on Don Quijote. All I knew before was the bit about the windmills which, spoiler alert, is two pages of a book with more than seven hundred. The book itself was a terrific, biting satire or Spanish society at the time, emphasizing the downright silly fascination people had with pop culture. In that book, the Don read so many stories about knights that his brains dried up and he went out to resurrect the knighthood on the Spanish highways.

Superzero applies this to comics, and though it’s still packed with humor, it is scary as heck. Drusilla is a young woman who has read so many comics that she is convinced that superheroes are the result of a puzzle solved by combining elements from each of the world religions in an attempt to stop a cycle of planetary death and rebirth, and in an effort to prevent our sixth Apocalypse, she has decided to set up the most common superhero origin stories to cast herself in the savior role.

Her intelligence and wit are charming, but her convinction to a delusion is unsettling, and the way she throws around comic references feels way too much like how we speak at 8:00 Wednesdays waiting for Alan to let us in the comic store. Her parents might be hiding something supernatural, and I hope for her sake they are, but the book is just as good if she is one of us who has just gone around the bend.

The writing is tight, moving through dense text with a casual but determined air, and the art looks like the independent film this book should become, with realistic bodies and carefully-placed props.

With last week’s Insexts and this week’s Superzero, Aftershock Comics is on a roll. Come on down to Ultimate Comics in Raleigh or Chapel Hill to get on board this one. But, umm, maybe you should read a nice textbook before you spend too much time in your stack.

-MATT CONNER for Ultimate Comics