Spandex - Fast and Hard review
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These Brighton superheroes are out. All the way out.
Martin Eden brings some freshness to graphic novels in Spandex - Fast and Hard, making us smile in the process with an outing that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Billed as ‘the UK’s first all-gay superheroes’, this bright and brassy bunch are based in Brighton, and have unusually complicated love-lives, giving them a humanity often lacking in the average GN. This was the first graphic novel I’ve read in a long time, and I was impressed. Too often, you hear people make one of two criticisms of graphic novels – ‘the illustrations weren’t as good as the storyline’ or ‘the storyline didn’t match the quality of the graphics’. You can’t say that about this the first book-outing of these intriguing superheroes.The central message seems to be that 'it’s all right to be different’ - and to be 'out' and proud.
With the exception of the third chapter, Spandex is written with tongue firmly in cheek and laced with references to modern culture. The first instalment does what all origin stories should and establishes the characters in an excursion brilliantly entitled ‘Attack of the 50 Foot Lesbian’. I won’t spoil it, but there is a kiss involved somewhere. The second story, 'Pink Ninjas', covers an attack by a menacing group of assassins and pays homage to martial arts movies. It also introduces us briefly to Japanese superhero Neon, who’s ultimately invited to join the team.
But Spandex Fast and Hard really takes off in the third instalment, 'If You Were The Last Person On Earth'. Here the gallant band of superheroes are plunged into a nightmare world where people have had their brains wiped by the evil Nadir: a baddie of indeterminate sex. In this creepy new Nineteen Eighty-Four-style dystopia, the same episode of EastEnders is played again and again (oh how those people suffer), and people have been reduced to worker drones, including two members of Spandex - who by this point look very strange in their civilian clothes.
But with these superheroes, you just know though that it will turn out all right in the end.
I look forward with relish to more instalments of this captivating series and seeing what Liberty, Prowler, Indigo, Butch, Glitter, Diva and Mr Muscles get up to next. Most of all, I’d love to know why Prowler has a working tail! Spandex is a must for X-Men fans, but only if they’ve got a sense of humour. It’s not just for members of the LBGTQ community either. Adults will enjoy this introduction to the Spandex crew.
You can read about how this book came about from the man himself at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/martin-eden/spandex_b_1607278.html
Spandex website: http://spandexcomic.wordpress.com
(It would have been five if the first two instalments had matched the impact of the third.)
A Brief History of Spandex
The Spandex Team
Spandex – Fast and Hard is published by Titan Books.
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