If we were to live in a superhero dimension, what would be our greatest fear? That the presence of superheroes would attract a barrage of villains? Or maybe that we’ll grow accustomed to the protection those heroes offer and one day they vanish? Or even worse, our saviors decide to turn on us. Volume 1 of Leaving Megalopolis details the account of a group of survivors trying to escape the world’s once safest city, which has now been turned into a deadly playground for corrupted superheroes. So is it good?
Leaving Megalopolis HC (Dark Horse Comics)
Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore have created a very intriguing storyline. While you may see the occasional crossover that features a superhero turned evil (Most recently in Superman: Doomed), no one has ever done it on this large of a scale. This Kickstarter-funded graphic novel is the second time the pair of writers has worked together, the time before being their run with DC’s Secret Six. The writers definitely prove that they’re in their element together as they create a superhero novel that focuses more on the citizens and their experiences.
The city of Megalopolis used to be considered the safest city in the world, protected by a band of superheroes until a strange threat converts the heroes into bloodthirsty, crazed maniacs. The city is demolished and takes on a post-apocalyptic appearance as the survivors are forced to scurry under the wreckage, hiding like cockroaches from the ex-guardians who are proceeding to hunt the remaining citizens. While some of the superheroes featured resemble, or fit the archetype for, some of the iconic superheroes of DC and Marvel, Simone and Calafiore are able to create an impressive number of unique characters.
The story revolves around the strong female lead character, Mina, as she and a small group of survivors make their way through the demolished city. Mina, dressed in a cop uniform and with shotgun in hand, is looked to as the leader and emblem of hope despite wanting nothing to do with the strangers she’s encountered. Her bitter disposition is explained in flashbacks that detail her dark past and parallel her previous tragedies and with the calamity she and the other survivors currently face.
The writing is particularly impressive because it makes these surviving citizens as appealing as the villains swarming the city. Simone presents a truly dark and realistic narrative that takes a look at humanity and what we’re capable of during disasters, both the heroic and the malicious. The art is just as amazing, depicting different looks for the superheroes and their crazed transformation. The wreckage of the cityscape looks like something from Cloverfield or Godzilla and evokes a sense of panic while scanning the remains.
Is It Good?
Quite. The novel presents a unique perspective for a situation never before shown in such magnitude. The characters are realistic and easy to connect with emotionally. It’s a very grim tale that expands past the superficiality of a superhero story, but still references the magic that comic book heroes contribute to our lives. Leaving Megalopolis is definitely a must read.