Pipedream Pull List: The Mighty Titan #1 (JGM Comics)

MightyTitan1This Kickstarter funded comic from writer Joe Martino takes the emotive subject of cancer and uses it as one of the central premises for a superhero adventure. This first issue of a 5 issue mini series was successfully funded last year and is now available via Martinos’ website, and may sound like a glib or insensitive way to treat such a serious subject, but Martino uses his own experiences as a way to give his book a smart and emotive central core, without  wallowing in bleak self-analysis. This makes for a title that should appeal to those affected by cancer and those just in need of an entertaining read and as such is well worth checking out.

The main premise for The Mighty Titan is straight out of superhero 101 with lead character Mark Williams as an everyman, going about his daily business, but suffering from chronic headaches, while his alter-ego The Mighty Titan is fighting giant mechanised robots and rescuing cats from trees. The juxtaposition of the Titan’s super heroics and Williams’ all too human frailties gives the book an interesting dynamic which we’ll no doubt discover more of in future issues, but for now it’s all about setting the scene. Martino and co do a good job of this with a solid, if not always spectacularly original, opening chapter but there’s a nicely staged cliffhanger at the end that should be enough to persuade readers to pick up the next issue.

The Titan himself is a fairly vanilla hero on first impressions and his nemesis “Trenchmouth” is grotesque and sinister without being hideously over the top and ridiculous. While this opening chapter feels a little over reliant at times on dialogue and exposition  rather than action, it does a good job of introducing the characters and the world, while setting up several intriguing channels for future stories to evolve out of.

Martino is ably supported by artists Luca Cicchitti, Jeff Austin and Keith J. Betancourt. whose old school styles evoke classic superhero artists like John Buscema, George Perez or Jerry Ordway (which is apt as Ordway himself produces the cover for the first issue). Cicchitti’s panel designs are simple and effective, relying on good old fashioned composition and strong storytelling which suits the old school feel of the book and his draftsmanship, especially on the buildings, help gives the book a really strong core. He’s backed up by Austin’s unfussy inks and Betancourt’s smart use of colour which don’t rely on fancy frills to make the book into something which it doesn’t need to be. At a time when so many books follow whichever superstar artist is in vogue, there is something reassuring about a good old fashioned super hero book like this.

pd_review3Beyond the emotive subject matter this is good old fashioned superhero story-telling with a solid premise at it’s core. Although not the most dynamic and original of opening chapters it has an ‘old-school’ feel that should appeal to a wide variety of fans and proves it is more than ‘just a book about cancer’.