Graves is an interesting take on the Boy Scout/Mad Genius trope, with Harmon and Esquivel showing the world as seen through the eyes of the villain. It tells the story of Gregory Graves, a bright young boy who survived abuse and torment to become, in his eyes, the potential savior of the world - until he was rejected by the world in favor of Luminary. It's easy to see the parallels between Graves/Luminary and Lex Luthor/Superman, but the big difference here feels to be perspective. It's easy to see Superman, a nearly perfect cosmic being, as the biggest difference maker in the world when the story is told through his eyes. When told through the eyes of someone who sees a hero like him as someone who, despite their advantages, does little to truly help the world, it's just as easy to see what heroes like Luminary could really be doing to change the world.
With writing teams, it can be difficult to ascertain who truly did what work on the story. Here, though, it's firmly established that both contribute equally through a general sense of each writer and their own personal fandoms. Luminary is in the obvious voice of Esquivel, a self-admitted Superman fanatic, with the mischievous Harmon channeling his inner Lex Luthor for Gregory Graves. The plot is firmly from them both, in ways that truly maximize their writing talents.
A lot has gone into the writing team, but this book would be nothing without the fantastic work of the art team. Starting with the excellent cover by the equally excellent Phillip Bond, this book is less of a parody and more of a change in perspective in superhero books, which is no more obvious than the talented artists on this title. Starting with Brent Schoonover, a longtime superhero comics artist, and complemented by the talented cast of Ted Naifeh and Rebecca Nalty, this book looks every bit as heroic as any others on the market. This dedication to the genre is proof that this story is not a parody, but is every bit a love letter to the form of superhero comics and the excellence they can provide.
The art here is fantastic, with bright colors and a style reminiscent of so many stories from the past, a feat it manages to pull off incredibly well and one that truly benefits the book. A major congratulations is in order to Schoonover, Naifeh, Nalty, Bond, and the entire art team on this title.
There's a lot to love about the first foray into superhero comics from this publisher. The creative team gels to form an amazing looking comic, and Esquivel and Harmon seem to bounce off of each other quite well as writers. With the next entry in the series focusing on a different style of superhero archetype, it will be interesting to see where this series goes.
Creative Team: Eric Esquivel (writer), Dan Harmon (writer), Brent Schoonover (art), Ted Naifeh (art), Rebecca Nalty (art), Phillip Bond (cover)
Publisher: Starburns Industries Press
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