Diversity. In comics it has become important to be diverse, yet there are very few times when it’s done right. Often publishers opt to change characters for a few months to make it appear like they are expanding their world only to later kill the character off and replace them with their more famous counterpart (I’m looking at you Marvel). Yet when we look outside the big publishers we can find gems, the creators that aren’t afraid to make a new character and support them; they show us how to do diversity right and Gamma Gals is one of these creations. This is the second comic published by Fanbase Press I’ve had the chance to review, so it’s time to find out if they can go two for two on my good comics list.
Gamma Gals #1 starts off by introducing us to the origin story of the Gamma Gals which is covered fully in a quick one page overview of them gaining their powers from a gamma-irradiated storm. At least they didn’t have to be zapped by the storm to get them so I’d say that’s a win-win situation. After the origin story we are introduced to their DnD group as they face utter defeat which helps serve as a casual introduction to our titular heroes. Harriet a.k.a Flux the unofficial leader of the group who was wheelchair bound by a hit and run at age 10, Kira Walton a.k.a Powerhouse the tough as nails tanker and finally Sue Kwan a.k.a Tempest the electrifying elementalist. The characters come from all different races and lives helping to make their world feel alive and real, that is if you exclude the superpowers, of course. With a large boom the Gamma Girls jump into action arriving at a wrecked downtown and face to face with a mysterious super-powered being. Rather than being like many superheroes, who stick to punching the bad guys, the Gamma Gals attempt to talk it out with this super-powered person. We quickly find out he can’t control his powers before he disappears, after which it’s right back to the gamma girls’ normal lives. Their normal school lives aren’t some sort of crazy over the top time where they are constantly trying to hide their superpowers and stop super villain’s from finding them. Instead, we are given a nice refreshing change of simple school life where the biggest villain is the popular school bully and the most challenging test is navigating school life. Yet just when we think the Gamma Gals problems are far from the school the mysterious super powered being is revealed! No spoilers of course, read it yourself if you want to find out who it is.
The comic moves on to give us some insight into Sue’s personal life. Even when you have superpowers there are still some villainous thoughts you can’t escape, like worrying over your weight and looks. We meet Sue’s mother and I absolutely love her character. She’s so supportive of her daughter and really sweet. Sue’s mum is one of my favourite characters despite only being a side character. She plays a pivotal role in developing a good amount of depth to Sue’s in this short but powerful moment. In the final few panels we are left with a cliff-hanger, the mysterious super powered being standing outside a costume shop. Is he ready to suit up to fight crime with the Gamma Gals or fight them instead? Only issue #2 will reveal the answer!
The writing and art of the comic is all done by Stefano Terry and it’s very well done. The writing helps craft a believable life for the Gamma Gals, nothing they do out of costume could be considered fantastical or different. I appreciate that the writer has aimed to make their comic more diverse, more inclusive. It’s always good for people to look down at the pages of a book and see a character and be able to feel represented. The writing doesn’t go out of its way to point out any of this, it’s just there, the way it should be. I will say that I hope the characters become more fleshed out. Right now the only character with any real depth is Sue, although I imagine the comic will go deeper into the characters as it continues. The art of the comic is enjoyable, the characters are detailed and realistic, right down to their natural looking body shapes and sizes. The comic switches between art styles depending on whether the characters are in or out of costume. When they are out of costume the art feels a little more laid back and sketched, less detail in the background and characters. Meanwhile when they are in costume the art is sleeker, more refined and definitely done to boost the action in the scenes. It can be a bit jarring to begin with but once you get used to it you’ll realize it works really well for what’s going on in the panels. It’s safe to say that Gamma Gals is off to a great start.
I enjoyed the well-crafted characters and the different art styles that blend to make up an excellent comic. It’s the diversity of the characters within the pages that make this a comic worth reading and supporting. There just isn’t enough variety in comics yet and new characters need to be created that can run along with the old ones we all know and love. While companies like Marvel are busy swapping out famous characters for token diversity to make a quick buck, Gamma Gals is showing them how creativity and taking a chance on new characters is the right way to make a comic that truly represents people. I can only hope we’ll be seeing a lot more of Gamma Gals in the months to come.