Review: The Pride Season 2 #1 (ComiXology Originals)

Joe Glass’ superhero series the Pride has been a shining light in the small press scene for its positive representation of LGBTQ characters, and also because it’s a darn good fun capes adventure in the vein of Claremont and Byrne’s X-Men. However The Pride have now been recruited by ComiXology to be part of their Originals stable and with that comes a new adventure and some new costumes, but will they manage to maintain their positive message now that they’re part of the mainstream.

Publisher: Queer Comix/ComiXology Originals
Writer: Joe Glass
Artist: Cem Iroz, Mark Dale, Mike Stock
Price: £1.99 from ComiXology

With The Pride now split into TV like series, Season 2 continues the arc of the original Pride series (now labelled Season 1) and follows the adventures of Fab Man and his team of aspiring LGBTQ heroes. After the events of Season 1 (check them out on ComiXology here if you need to catch up), the team are looking to expand their roster and fill the gap currently vacated by The Bear, as well as being tasked with investigating a series of mysterious disappearances connected to a pop star called Siren.

Whether you are a new or existing fan of The Pride, then this is a really well paced jumping on issue. There is enough back story for those who need to get up to speed, thanks to some brief character bios and a recap page at the front. But this isn’t at the expense of the main story, as existing fans will have plenty of new action to enjoy.  This first issue is perhaps a little light on action compared to previous issues, and not all the characters get their moment to shine, but the developing story more than makes up for this.

The disappearing fans of pop star Siren allows for a sinister main villain to begin to emerge in the background, while the idea of recruiting new members and not applying tokenism or positive discrimination is handled brilliantly and is the real core of this first issue. Just as The Pride are now stepping up by being part of Comixology, so the team in the book are required to deal with their higher profile and with this comes the issue of whether they should open their roster to straight heroes and whether they need to include representatives from all sexualities. Glass handles these important issues delicately and smartly, making them thought provoking and socially relevant, without being tub-thumping or doing it at the expense of the overall story.

While previous issues of The Pride have seen a cavalcade of small press stars, such as Gav Mitchell, Dan Harris and Chris Wildgoose, bringing their skills to the series, then new artist Cam Iroz is every bit their equal. His work has the angular sharpness of Wildgoose and the expressive characterisation of Mitchell and creates a fantastic mix of classic Bronze Age hero with a dash of Jamie McKelvie-like slickness to boot.

The new costume designs are particularly sharp and feel more like the kind of upgrade we seen in the MCU where costumes are given more of a practical edge than an impractical aesthetic and this helps reflect the books step up from indie to mainstream. We hope this is the start of a long and productive relationship, as The Pride could really benefit from a consistent artist run on the series to help really cement itself.

With this new season, The Pride continues to be one of the best indie superhero stories out there and fantastic example of how to make superhero adventures fun, but also socially relevant – just as all those Silver and Bronze Age books did back in the day. While this first issue is more about setting the scene and getting new and existing readers up to speed (sometimes at the expense of in depth character development), there is enough interest in this first issue to ensure the Pride is a book to make ComiXology and it’s fans proud.