Supurbia, Boom! Studios’ latest foray into the world of the super-powered, is a product of our culture. At it’s core Supurbia is superhero drama by way of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I suppose for many readers this would not be a bad thing. But for me? There’s a reason I don’t watch shows like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. And that is the same reason why I didn’t completely enjoy Supurbia.
Supurbia, written by Grace Randolph (Nation X), is an inside-and-out view of the lives of Earth’s greatest super-team, the Meta-Legion. If the name of the super-team didn’t make you cringe a little allow me to continue. You will cringe soon enough. The heroes are all analogues of classic Marvel and DC characters. Sovereign is Superman. Night Fox is Batman. Batu is Wonder Woman. Marine Omega is Captain America. Bulldog is Bucky. Cosmic Champion is Green Lantern. What I’m getting at is that all of the characters in this book are akin to the same thing we’ve been seeing in comics for decades. There’s nothing new under the sun here. These characters react and act pretty much like you’d expect them to in a Marvel or DC book. Randolph even writes these characters with quirks and little things that all of us comic geeks talk in jest: Batman and Robin having more than a partnership, Superman being the most powerful and cocksure being on the planet due to his vast abilities, things like that. Not only have comic fans joked about these things for years, but everyone from Bendis to Morrison (and even far back as Alan Moore) have utilized these same comic tropes when it comes to analogues of classic characters. This makes Randolph’s work feel “been there, done that, don’t wanna go there again”.
On top of the thinly-veiled superhero tropes the spouses and families of these heroes all live in a cul-de-sac kind of suburbia, replete with all the drama you’ve seen on Desperate Housewives and every other show with the word “housewives” in the title. I found this equally as grating as the caricatures of superheroes, mainly because gets into all the back-stabbing, lies, and deceit that today’s modern reality television were built on. By the time the real twist came at the end of Supurbia #1 I honestly had lost interest in the book itself because if I really wanted to see this seedy scripted kind of drama I could just turn on Bravo. All of the hiding of the truth is just a bit much, especially at the quantity it is served up in this first issue.
I suppose the best thing about the Supurbia #1 is the art. Series artist Russel Dauterman. His art is appealing, not hyper-realistic but expressive. I do think it is a bit cartoony for the tone of this series (I would envision a series like this with a more realistic art style) but it works well enough and shows the promise that this new artist possesses.
Supurbia is the comic equivalent of trash television. Issue 1 did nothing for me. It’s Perez Hilton while trying to be Watchmen. Believe me when I say that this isn’t really a good thing. This is a four-issue miniseries but I think I’ll hop off the ride right now. It’s too weak of a beginning to be going anywhere worthwhile.