These days it can be tough to get excited for a team superhero book. Some know how to keep you along for the ride, others struggle to find a selling point. Project Superpowers #4 breaks the mold with a story that consistently raises the stakes and challenges what it means to be a hero in this day and age.
Where this issue picks up was great for the momentum that was carried over from the issue before. Right now I would say that momentum and pacing are their best friend. Taking advantage of both is working for the best considering how much is at stake for these heroes who have only just begun to understand what they are up against. Whether it was going up against P:andora or the possessed Death-Defying Devil, they were all facing a challenge that forced them to make some bold choices. I should say choices that makes this such a wonderful superhero story. It’s not just about a bunch of godly heroes who conveniently seem to have everything under control. It’s about having your back against the wall and making choices that put the fate of the world above your own. Rob Williams understands this as the writer, and the art team understands this as well for the execution of each action scene.
With this issue also marking the arrival of P:andora on Earth, this was an exciting time to see just what this villain could bring to the table when taking a more proactive approach towards acquiring his box. That is where I would say that this creative team also nailed it at this stage in the plot. P:andora has an intimidating size difference between himself and the other heroes. He handles himself as an enemy who doesn’t really need others doing his dirty work for him too. I was impressed to see that when it counted he was not one of those who was big for nothing and doing too much talking. Not to say that his dialogue wasn’t good, because it was, but sometimes a character like him can disappoint when they aren’t the kind of obstacle they are built up to be.
How P:andora managed to change the landscape of this fight by the end of this issue was one heck of a testament to his power. If you were waiting for that one move that would convince you of the power he boasts about, this was the issue for you to see that power put in action.
It may have taken five issues, but it was worth the wait to finally begin to see what has made Imani special enough to be chosen by The Spirit of the American Flag. Right now I really have to say that Project Superpowers is one of my favorite books because it really is bold how they have turned this girl Imani into the host for The Spirit of the American Flag. It sends a message that it is about the person, not how they look. Many will be quick to pull the race card, and that will have nothing to do with it.For this issue of Project Superpowers, there was definitely more of a balance to the characters and the action. It was the scenes that focused on the heroes that stood out for me most this time around. It was very engaging how they put the effort into capturing the soul of Imani as this girl chosen by one of the most symbolic forces on this planet. It’s not enough to say someone is worthy, sometimes you have to see it yourself. Especially when that scene includes an endearing point of innocence and courage for this girl. It goes without saying that it is appreciated when artists know how to make that distinction between kid and adult. It matters more than you think. I think I would also be crazy not to once again mention how majestic every close-up is of The Spirit of the American Flag is when worn. The way it wraps around a host and the way it flows takes some patience to pull off. As for P:andora, it was very important to assure us that this was someone to fear. It showed through his large stature in contrast to someone like Samson, his show of force, and even his menacing expressions. When it came to the action sequences, as I mentioned above, bold choices sold many of the scenes. Fast-ball special combos with teammates, hitting a homerun with a skyscraper, just to name a few things that popped out for the execution. The perspective, the explosiveness, and lets not forget the detail that went into the penciling and colors was stunning. This art team did not skip and beat and it shows through full renderings that keep your eyes engaged from page to page.
Another thrilling issue of Project Superpowers when issue #5 was all about putting the resolve of these heroes to the test against the might of P:andora. As a superhero story, we are set up to anticipate where it will be that these heroes rise to the occasion when it matters most. Everyone gets knocked down, but it is how you get back up that stands out more than anything else.