04 August 2005

The Intimates (ongoing series, Wildstorm/DC Comics)

The premise of this series isn't terribly original: a bunch of super-powered teens are sent to a special high school to learn how to be heroes. The characters aren't that original either: the four main characters are a super-strong hick, a rural white boy who acts like a gangsta, a spoiled rich girl, and an overweight girl with self-esteem issues. Still, writer Joe Casey uses these cliches as a springboard for one of the most innovative and subversive comics on the market.

The structure of the series is based around the typical school year (The series debuted last fall and took place on the first day of school; the last few issues [July & August] gave us a glimpse of how these characters are spending their summer vacations), and seems to take place in real time. Subplots revolve around issues that all high schoolers face at some point in their life (unrequited love, bad cafeteria food, school dance anxiety, etc.), issues that modern teenagers face (classmates finding someone's blog, teens being hounded by corporate "coolhunters") and some that they don't (being acceped by your fellow teens when you're undead, keeping a powerful telepathic teen from destroying the world).

My absolute favorite thing about this comic is the ticker along the bottom of the pages. Like the banners that run along the bottom of the TV when watching the various news channels, these tickers provide interesting factoids about the people on the page (example from issue #1: Punchy [the aforementioned "gangsta"] has been banned from mass e-mailing by four internet carriers..."), statistics (issue #7: "Median age of ideal corporate trendspotters: fourteen years old"), and "helpful tips" (issue #5: "Teen assimilation tip: keep your head down and try to conform..."). You can ignore the tickers and still enjoy a good story, but if you do, you're really missing out.

Recommended for: anyone who ever went to high school; people who appreciate innovation.
Not recommended for: people who don't like information overload.

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