Title: Strong Female Protagonist Book 1
Author: Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Release Date: November 25
Source: Diamond Book Distributors on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check out this book on Goodreads.
With superstrength and invulnerability, Alison Green used to be one of the most powerful superheroes around. Fighting crime with other teenagers under the alter ego Mega Girl was fun – until an encounter with Menace, her mind-reading arch enemy, showed her evidence of a sinister conspiracy, and suddenly battling giant robots didn’t seem so important. Now Alison is going to college and trying to find ways to help the world while still getting to class on time. It’s impossible to escape the past, however, and everyone has their own idea of what it means to be a hero… (Source: Goodreads)
Alison used to be a superhero, now she’s just trying to be normal. It turns out that it’s not so easy, especially when normal is something you can’t ever really be when you’re super strong and invincible. This comic, originally and still a webcomic, deals with many of the moral and ethical issues of super heroes (super hero universes more specifically) and the world in general.
I was actually thoroughly impressed with this comic and pleasantly surprised by the whole thing, I’m really looking forward to reading this further, online or future published collected editions. There were a few things that I didn’t like a whole lot, but also a lot that was just amazing to me, especially looking back on it and discussing it.
The world of Strong Female Protagonist is kind of a combination comic book world and real world, there’s definitely a lot of reality to it, which is great. The background of how people get their powers hasn’t been fully explained so far, but there have been hints at it, which have been intriguing if a little confusing. I liked the idea of the powers being, in some cases, cancers rather than just genetic mutations with no repercussions. It’s really interesting that the things that make these people strong and different are also killing them. I also liked the way the reveal of the powers was handled, where they round up the heroes, because it rings true, obviously these people would be treated as threats because they are unknowns. The world of the comic just seems very realistic.
I liked Alison as a character. She is really well developed because she is hugely flawed. I think there is something fantastic about the fact that Alison is a hero, but she’s also flawed and kind of awful. The fact that she not only thinks about but threatens to kill a group of people kind of drags up the fact that this is a girl who at 14 was taken from her family and studied, who has powers beyond even her control, and who really hasn’t had a good life because of it. I really enjoyed this characterization and the way in which Alison was developed throughout. Other characters, especially villains, are shown to be people. Like the humanization of people who are treated to be superhuman both because they have powers and because they are “evil” was just fantastic. I also have a bit of a crush on Patrick.
The moral and ethical issues discussed are really interested and fantastic. Mulligan and Ostertag take on a lot of really deep and heavy issues, from medical questions of ethics to the morality of superhumans. These questions are pursued in interesting and really relevant ways. I definitely think that while this comic can be a light read the content is really heavy when you think about it.
The art for me is good, maybe not perfect, but it really matches the content and the format and I think it grew on me. I think there’s a lot to it, and a good use of space and depth. There’s always lots going on in the background and clearly lots of thought goes into even the little details of this comic which is really fantastic (I mean, come on, the snacks have hilarious names). My one complaint initially was the little comments at the bottom of the page, but then I realized it was a webcomic and those were from the site! And now I’m just like, yes thank you so much for this commentary because you point out so many cool things I was going to miss.
This comic is something I’d recommend to fans of superhero comics because it touches on a lot of the moral and ethical questions that the classic comic book would kind of ignore or work its way around whereas Strong Female Protagonist tackles these questions head on and it’s just a really interesting thing to look at. I would highly recommend this, I think it’s interesting and fun to read. I’m really excited to see the future of this comic.
Have you read Strong Female Protagonist? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
If you haven’t read it: read it here!
Check out Brennan Lee Miller at his Twitter.
Check out Molly Ostertag at her Twitter and website.
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