by Brennan Lee Mulligan
Illustrated by Molly Ostertag
Series: Strong Female Protagonist #1
Published 2014 by Top Shelf Productions
220 pages. Trade Paperback
Genres: Comics, Superheroes, Young Adult
A collected web comic that grapples with the idea of heroism through the story of an ex-super hero.
After discovering a conspiracy regarding those with super powers, Alison leaves her life as a super hero behind. She struggles to assimilate to a normal life as a college student, but she still finds a way to help out by joining the local Fire & Rescue. Her super strength intimidates those around her and many distrust any beings with super powers. In this collection of the first four issues of Strong Female Protagonist, Alison works through what it means to be a super hero and whether or not she’s doing good or creating more problems.
The plot reminded me a bit of the Marvel Civil War plot. There are a lot of differences in the stories, but the idea of the existence of super heroes actually making it unsafe for people is at the heart of both. I think that dilemma is explored more thoroughly and in a much more interesting way in this comic. Alison has to grapple with the collateral damage of what she considered heroism. At the same time, her urge to use her abilities for good is strong. She wants to be helpful, but can’t help feeling that she can’t make a true difference in the world and that someone innocent always ends up getting hurt. The storytelling is spot on. I think Mulligan and Ostertag did a great job putting this together. They pull off the moving scenes and the humor in a way I find most super hero comics don’t. I loved the art and the little commentary from the creators at the bottom of each page. I’m definitely interested in continuing my reading online.
This is a great graphic novel for someone who’s getting started in comics or perhaps who has trouble keeping up with super hero comics, but likes the idea of them. This one digs a little deeper than most super hero comics so it’s a more compelling read.