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SuperFreaks Is a Fun Superhero Romp for a New Generation

'SuperFreaks' Is a Fun Superhero Romp for a New Generation

'SuperFreaks' Is a Fun Superhero Romp for a New Generation

The ComiXology series naturally weaves in themes and circumstances that young people deal with every day.

TonyaWithAPen

When superheroes are constantly having crossovers or being retconned, it can be hard to remember why superheroes matter in the first place. This especially applies to a new, younger generation of comic book readers who are trying to get into superhero comics. With Comixology's new digital comic book series SuperFreaks, young superhero sidekicks are fighting to prove themselves while saving the world.

In the world of SuperFreaks, superheroes were originally created by a magical 1970's van known as The Mighty Van. Eventually, a team of adult superheroes known as The Mighty Vanguard was formed to battle a mysterious spaceship that keeps invading earth for The Mighty Van. One day, the adult superheroes vanish and their younger sidekicks must protect The Mighty Van in their place. Once they discover that there is much more to their duty than meets the eye, the sidekicks must fight battles from within and without in order to do what is right.

One of the most notable aspects of the books is its large cast of characters. Starting with the sidekicks, we have a team comprised of mainly hero sidekicks, but also a few villian sidekicks as well. The team is inclusive and the power sets are mostly pretty interesting. One character, Blue Aura, is a Black, plus-sized female superhero. Another character, La Garb, is a rich gay villain sidekick with expensive toys, funny dialogue, and a non-superhero boyfriend that his father doesn't want him to have.

Besides the sidekicks, the adult characters are also decently developed. News reporter Brain McMale is meant to represent every irascible older male in real-life that is blaming millenials for the world's problems. Mayor Marie has the same views as McMale, but her government position gives her power to treat the sidekicks even worse. Meanwhile, the parents are either good parents learning to support their kids heroics or misguided, crappy parents who don't try to understand their kids. 

Writers Elsa Charretier and Perrick Colinet also naturally weave in themes and circumstances that young people deal with every day. One of the most emotionally moving scenes from the comic is when Red bonds with a female superhero sidekick named Rookie after discovering that Rookie has an eating disorder. Even though they are supposedly on different sides, it's touching to see them become closer over something they both understand.

Other issues that the books touches on include social media harassment, homophobia, and the roles that we do and don't fit into. The latter is thoughtfully applied to the world of superheroes as the book asks what makes a hero and what makes a villain. Not only do the sidekicks attempt to step out of the shadows of the adult superheroes, but some of them also step out of the preconceived notions of hero and villain and good and evil.

A final strength of the book is Margaux Saltel's artwork and coloring. It's wonderfully vibrant in a way that would appeal to all ages and the character designs are reminscent of Pixar animated films like The Incredibles and Brave. Enhancing the artwork is the lettering of Ed Dukeshire, whose fonts give the dialogue of the sidekicks' an extra pop, especially when they use their powers. Furthermore, the cover art for each issue is wonderfully done by different artists that include Steve Byrne, Marguerite Sauvage, Naomi Franquiz, Elsa Charretier, and Jamie Mckelvie.

Although the books have many strengths, there were also a few weaknesses. Some of the superhero names could've been better, especially since certain names like Savage and La Brute have negative connotations. The intention may have been to give these names a more positive meaning, but that might not always register with readers who have identities that are put down with these words.

Overall, SuperFreaks combines fun and tenacity with serious themes in a team reminiscent of Marvel's Runaways, the second run of Marvel's Young Avengers, and DC Comics' Young Justice. Not only do the sidekicks learn to become heroes, but they question the roles and labels they are given by the world and make their own. With compelling characters, fun artwork, and relatable themes, Superfreaks entertains and delights.

Purchase the entire SuperFreaks digital limited series on ComiXology and Kindle!

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Latonya Pennington

Latonya Pennington is a non-binary queer freelance writer. Their writing can be found in places like Wear Your Voice magazine, EFNIKS, and Black Girl Dangerous.

Latonya Pennington is a non-binary queer freelance writer. Their writing can be found in places like Wear Your Voice magazine, EFNIKS, and Black Girl Dangerous.