Sam Johnson has just released the first issue in a new series of his Geek-Girl creation and I was long overdue a catch-up on his first run with the character.
This first volume introduces the college world of Ruby Kaye as she walks the tight-rope that is her social life but when she gets her hands on a pair of glasses that grant the wearer super-powers……..the prize from a game of strip poker begins to complicate every aspect of her life. Nearly losing her superhero friend in a battle of good vs evil sees her step up the ladder of crime-fighters in the city but the precarious existence of a college student is an interesting contrast to her life with powers.
Her superhero life gets fast-tracked when some very public mistakes sees Geek-Girl hold-back some of the other heroes in the city adding another layer of doubt to her growing list. The weaving together of both aspects of her life become blurred as the story progresses and it feels like Geek-Girl & Ruby are very much jostling for their own place in the world around them. That connection extends beyond the characters and even the pages of this book to become something the reader can relate to but in a subtle way that helps it avoid being too on the nose.
Sam has a great plot on his hands that leans far more on the real-life dilemmas that come with developing super powers than on the superhero elements themselves. That helps it steer clear of being just another rehash of something we’ve seen many times before and the strong female lead with all her hang-ups ends up feeling much more refreshing than I was expecting. The art from Carlos Granda is great at catching all the angst that goes with real-life alongside the explosive action that come with trying to keep new powers under control and manages to match Sam’s plot panel for panel.
The colourists Nahp (#1) & Chunlin Zhao (#2-4) and letterers Paul McLaren (#1,3 & 4) & Micah Myers (#2) all pitch in with their own contribution and the switch from one to the other across this run is pretty seamless. This allows the flow to stay in place across the whole series as the crackle of super-power carnage and bitchy so-called friends play their own part in messing with Ruby’s head. There are large section of dialogue across certain scenes that starts to slow things down a bit but thankfully that doesn’t derail the story advancing too much.
A strong opener that may focus on real-life a bit too much for some but a fan of comics with a difference and comics that challenge the norms of the genre should find loads to enjoy here. The elements blend well and end up like a female-lead Invincible with the pitfalls of college life being just as significant for our central character as the super-villains that she faces off against.
Geek-Girl Vol.1: Lightning Strikes! and the first issue of the new series is Out Now and available over on the Geek-Girl website – You can get this first volume on Amazon, Comixology, on the Comichaus website and through the Comichaus app too.