In Clark’s graphic-novel debut, superpowered teens protect the world and battle villains.
A vaccination saves humanity from an enigmatic virus—but at a cost. It also sparks supernatural abilities in people, like 19-year-old Enmanuel Summers and his younger sister, Autumn. While Enmanuel is capable of gravity manipulation, Autumn can manipulate molecules, allowing her to morph anything, including herself. The siblings use their powers for good, like stopping would-be robbers. Offering the occasional helping hand (and sword) is Lynnwood Flores, Enmanuel’s chum and Autumn’s boyfriend. Lynn has the “natural” ability—not derived from the vaccination—of chi manipulation. In the course of the story, the group encounters Montrell Smith, an eventual ally, who manipulates electricity, and Enmanuel becomes smitten with nonsuperpowered Hitomi Takahashi. The chapters unfold as individual adventures, which include minor woes, like going without turkey on Thanksgiving. But the young superheroes’ troubles are usually bigger; they are often the target of any number of villains, from Dr. Technus, a villain in a robot suit, to Fraydel, a fearsome witch. Before long, they’re up against their most formidable foe: a mysterious organization that abducts two of the teens, prompting the others to attempt a perilous rescue. This story’s light, breezy style (consisting predominantly of action scenes) doesn’t come at the cost of character development. Enmanuel, for example, taps into a surprising new ability when someone threatens Hitomi, and Autumn’s morphing into less stable components, like gas, puts her in danger of an accompanying mental instability. Clark’s illustrations resemble sketches more than a finished, refined product, with freehanded panels and a visible lined-paper background (though the lined paper inexplicably disappears in later chapters). While this method appears amateurish, Clark astutely fills his pages with vibrant images and showcases a diverting anime/manga influence with exaggerated eyes and spiky hair. It’s clear by this novel’s end that another volume or two will likely follow.
Despite the simple narrative and unpolished art, this is entertaining stuff from an ambitious, energetic author/illustrator.