WRITTEN BY David Schwartz
ART BY Pasquale Qualano
COLOURS BY David Curiel
LETTERS BY Josh Reed
COVER BY Oliver Nome, Cover Photo’s by Micheal Schwartz
PUBLISHER Aspen Comics
I always find the problem with Idolized and it’s the same problem every issue – which cover do I buy? Do I get the Rachel Clark model cover or one of the illustrated variant covers which are equally spectacular but for different reasons. Once past this dilemma I can move on I can jump into the story. I’ve followed this series since the issue zero preview issue; which gave you a hint of what was the come over the first four issues and issue four arrived this week and brought the first story arc to a close.
For those that haven’t read Idolized yet – it centres on the character of Leslie, aka Joule as she fights an internal battle for revenge and redemption to the background of reality television. Joule has entered “Superhero Idol” with the goal of winning and joining the Powered Protectors to use them to defeat Stasis. Joule’s torn emotions which have played out throughout the series are as result of her not being able to save the lives of her parents as a child due to supervillain – Stasis. Joule has blamed herself to harshly as she couldn’t have been more than five or six when they died and seeing something so traumatic at that age explains the conflicting emotions which plague our hero. David Schwartz the writer and creator of Idolized has balanced the emotional state of Joule very well as well as pushing the story along nicely throughout the first four issues choosing to concentrate on the wider story more than the main character.
Issue three ended with a very Hunger Games type feel to it with Trooper, The Present and Joule all dropped in the wooded areas of upstate New York to effectively battle for the title (without the whole killing each other part). This issue picks up right outside the action with a television reporter interviewing the crowd and using this as a mechanism to catch the reader or potential new reader up to date whilst also showing how big Superhero Idol is in the Idolized world – “The Crowd Now Numbers Nearly 80,000“. Even in the real world reality television whether it be the Voice, X-Factor or Strictly Come Dancing is a massive thing so in a world of Superheroes this would be phenomenal. After the introduction we go back to our three wannabe heroes as the producers have found a way to make them powerless. Joule quickly uses or uses her own resources to turn this off and regain her powers and in turn defeat and win the even, I would have actually liked to have seen Joule win this without her powers allowing to see a new side to her character and one that doesn’t need to rely on powers to win the day but this is a minor gripe.
The issue then goes on to show Joule join the cliched Powered Protectors who need to be given more character which will hopefully come down the line. The team funnily enough on their first mission with Joule end up facing Stasis and bringing us up the point where we were teased in issue zero. The issue ends with Joule laying battered and beaten and the Powered Protectors feared lost and very much to be continued. In regards to story – a lot had been packed into the first four issues including this very issue to bring us from the lost kid living with her grandparents to the fully fledged hero who still has much to learn. Schwartz has done a wonderful job in terms of building the character of Joule and the world she lives in including the reality show she was very much the focus point of, I would like to see other characters developed further as the series continues but in terms of enjoyment and readability this hasn’t effected the issue or series at all.
The art team of Pasquale Qualano on pencils and David Curiel on colours have brought a beautifully illustrated world. Background characters to Joule herself have been incredibly detailed whilst Curiel has given them a wonderful sense of colour. One page I enjoyed the most for art reasons was when Joule lost her powers mid-flight and started to plummet to the ground, which was a three panel page showing her various degrees of falling (which can be seen below).
Even if you’ve not read any of this series I fully recommend you picking it up, I love that it’s not a Marvel NOW, New DC 52 or one of the grittier Image or Dark Horse books which are all the rage right now. This is simple self-contained straight superhero story about a conflicted hero with a tragic background. Although if you’ve yet to read any of the issues before hand this issue has been written so that you could just pick up this issue and feel right at home. Buy it and enjoy it.
IDOLIZED #4 is in stores December 19th, 2012!
Preview Pages from issue #4: