The first issue of creator/writer Jamie Me’s Start Again may well have seen a delay after running a successful Kickstarter but the hope was always going to be that it was worth the wait.
Opening with what appears to be a fairly run-of-the-mill visit to a club in Leeds, a drunken encounter in the toilet of all places sees our central character Ajay Verma kick off the unconventional boy meet girl story in the most awkward way imaginable. Passions run high between the two but voices in Ajay’s head disrupt the flow in more ways than one and this of course leads to him plummeting from Natalie’s balcony. A move that brings him head first into the limelight with his picture doing the rounds on news & social media but he’s less than happy about how things turned out.
Spiralling from those initial pages comes a glorious story of fame, super-powers and love in a blend that breaks the mould and nestles quite easily in a niche of real-world superheroes that’s both fresh and new. We fast forward six weeks and Ajay has hidden himself away from the world but he just can’t get Natalie out of his head and wants a chance to explain. His room mate does a stellar job at coaxing him out of his self-imposed exile from the world and he’s soon disguised & heading back to her flat to offer an explanation and hopefully win her back. He seems to be having a break in his misfortune but it doesn’t last as he is recognised and finds himself in another situation where he needs some of his superpowers to just get away from the world.
Arriving unannounced he lets himself into Natalie’s flat and that’s the cue for another awkward encounter in a bathroom and the whole issue is flipped on it’s head with the last couple of panels. It’s an unflinching and ballsy beginning from Jamie in this first issue but its such a daring opening that my initial worry was that it wouldn’t be able to sustain that but everything from beginning to end was developed & paced just perfectly. The narrative was funny & engaging and the dialogue between all the characters rolled off their tongues and I’m pretty sure I could hear the words being spoken in my head.
That’s no mean feat to achieve in a new title and teaming up with Toni Doya on art & Sean Callahan on colours is just another aspect that seems to come together effortlessly. The pages almost glow with the world that’s been created and the story plays out with a quality that’s far more mainstream than I’d expect from an indie title. So the wait was more than worth it as Jamie has pulled off a stunning new title to get lost in that’s smart, funny, and surprising from first page to last, resulting in a character-driven superhero comic that is content to have the superpowers take a backseat as the story unfolds among the characters……..a glorious direction to take as it turns out.