Southern Belle is one of the most terrifyingly sadistic and perfectly unstable characters ever constructed. She, along with the other beloved superheroes of Megalopolis, have been twisted into something else entirely after they succumb to some kind of evil after a battle. The resulting perverse psychosis has never been made more apparent than with Belle’s presence throughout these pages. A dominant glare, a determined expression, tattered clothing, scars, and dark shading around her eyes highlighting her insanity showcase an intimidating force leading the way in this hardcover edition of Surviving Megalopolis.
Writer Gail Simone, artist J. Calafiore, and colorist Jason Wright combine to craft Belle, an amazingly powerful “when was she ever a hero” representation of a villain. Not only are her abilities a reason for the main characters to want to stay away from her, the fact that she can fly, track people with her cunning, and rip off arms with super strength make the reader not want the main characters to run into her either. She is a superior, destructive force and the crazed tenacity keeps you on the edge of your seat during each and every panel she’s a part of.
Simone writes Belle, and this entire series, magnificently. Leaving Megalopolis Volume 2: Surviving Megalopolis does not read like a second volume. You will not need the first volume to follow along as characters fill in other characters on back story, and there are brief flashbacks to help identify key source material to the plot. Though after finishing the story, there might be an immediate desire to pick up the first volume in the series. Simone is able to clearly translate intent, cruelty, emotional breakdowns, and the alarming fact that Megalopolis has been overrun by former heroes turned “homicidal maniacs.” Despite some vulgarity and mature content, the explicit language further emphasizes the emotional outbursts of these maniacal characters, and the intensity of those trying to save the lives of others trapped within the city limits.
Calafiore uses distinct lines and shapes to emphasize a wide variety of characters in this story. Finely animated facial expressions, shared alongside a severely damaged cityscape, help to define the burden placed on the characters throughout this story. Wright’s use of color never seems out of place, even as costumes stand out, and reds emphasizes violent fight scenes. Calafiore and Wright’s stellar abilities are perfectly encapsulated with one specific page; let’s just say this one page might be best titled as, “The Worse Kind of Holiday Cheer.” Their imagery blends seamlessly into a well-defined story making this volume a perfect sample to show why we can only hope superheroes always stay superheroes, and even those without powers somehow muster the strength to help their friends.
This edition includes six comic books, Issues #1 – 6, and it’s a quick read. Complex backstories and intense action scenes fill each of these chapters, while fun promotional illustrations are placed between each one to emphasize the light-hearted nature that used to be associated with Megalopolis. Now, the world has quarantined a once safe city, trapping citizens with transformed superheroes and those wanting to appease these godlike beings to maintain their own safety. It’s safe to say that those looking to infiltrate this warzone will also have many other things to worry about once they make it into the city, if they make it.
Leaving Megalopolis Volume 2: Surviving Megalopolis hardcover edition is a product of Dark Horse Comics and is available for pre-order now.