This comic makes it clear very early on that anything goes. Within the first few pages, we get a flying shark who battles a herd of laser dinosaurs. There’s a knight, a barbarian, a werewolf, a time traveler, and much more. It’s a free-for-all of superhero tropes combined with whatever other crazy, random things the writer could dream up. It’s glorious.
Explosion High is a school that trains superheroes. Or perhaps “trial by fire” would be a better way of putting it. It’s the first day of school, and already they’re being tested. The incoming class has just 30 minutes to get across an obstacle course to reach the school’s entrance. Sounds simple enough—except that the obstacles are the aforementioned laser dinosaurs.
Through this task, we get to meet some of the heroes attending the school and see how they handle danger. There are a whole lot of characters, and it will be difficult to keep track of them all. Fortunately, there’s a handy guide at the beginning of the issue, matching names with faces. Matching those faces with powers and backstories will happen more slowly. Many of the students on the list, we only meet in passing, or see brief glimpses of. I assume we’ll get a better handle on them in subsequent issues.
There are a few main characters, however, whom we do get to meet in more depth. Kid Armour Junior II is a sidekick who’s training to be a full-fledged superhero. Skyshark is a shark who can fly. Dawn the Barbarian comes from Barbarian Times, though no one seems entirely clear on what that means. And Trouble is a supervillain. There are a few others who cross paths in this issue, as well. There’s no shortage of colorful characters at Explosion High.
There are three different chapters and an epilogue in this 27-page comic, each with a different artist. I’ll admit that sounded a bit ambitious when I first saw the title page, but it works well. It’s essentially one cohesive narrative, told from multiple perspectives. It’s an interesting convention, and the different art styles add flavor.
Our guide through the different stories and perspectives is Professor Explosion, an unseen narrator who interjects occasional quips and asides to the audience. Perhaps we’ll meet him as an actual character in subsequent issues. Or perhaps he’ll remain an unseen narrator. Either way, he’s a fun addition to the mayhem.
“Fun” and “Mayhem” are both good words to describe this comic in general. There’s a whole lot going on, right from the beginning. It may seem at first like it will be difficult to keep track of it all, but it isn’t. Just go with the flow and let the story unfold in all of its chaotic glory. If flying sharks, knights, barbarians, and gods – all fighting disasters together – sounds like your type of story, then you will love Explosion High. I can’t wait until the next issue, where, hopefully, we’ll meet a few more of these colorful characters and see even more mayhem unfold.
Creative Team: Charlie Ethridge-Nunn (writer), Norrie Millar (art, Story One, cover art), Faye Stacey (art, Story One), Deborah Lancianese (art, Story Two, colors, Story Two and Story Three), Mike Armstrong (art, Story Three), Russell Mark Olson (art, Epilogue), Rob Jones (letterer/designer), and Matt Hardy (publisher)
Publisher: Mad Robot Comics
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