Review: ‘Commanders In Crisis’ #1 Delivers A Welcome New Take On Super Heroes

by James Ferguson


Do we need a brand new super hero universe? If it’s Commanders in Crisis, I’m going to go with “Yes.”


n a world where the Avengers are the stars of the highest grossing movie of all time, do we need an entirely new world of super heroes? If it’s Commanders in Crisis, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” This is no easy task as not only are we introduced to all new characters, but they’re in the midst of a crisis level event as pointed out in Dan Didio’s introduction. Fans criticized Warner Bros and DC for jumping right to Justice League instead of working their way up to it. Fortunately, the creative team lays quite the foundation here.

Since this is the debut issue, writer Steve Orlando takes some time introducing us to each of the characters and giving us the lay of the land. Some of this comes through as exposition heavy and not totally how people speak. For example, you’re not giving your background to every person you speak to, especially those you’ve already met.

I’ve seen this move fall flat in a number of indie titles, but Orlando makes this flow very well. He does know his way around a comic book. While he has to get this ground work laid in order to get to the big reveal at the end of the issue, it never feels like a history lesson. It comes through naturally.

It helps that the characters are interesting. We touch upon each one briefly, but there’s enough here to grab onto for every one of them. We see them in action, then in their civilian lives, and back again. Artist Davide Tinto brings forth a tremendous amount of personality with these designs, giving us an idea of who each Commander is.

I especially like the design for Frontier, with a futuristic suit that would make Iron Man jealous. She has a bit of a Samus Aran from Metroid vibe to the suit. Her weapons are super awesome too, throwing out a time acid that can eat through a wall and then replace it quickly like it was never damaged.

Colorist Francesca Carotenuto fills Commanders in Crisis with the bright, vibrant palette we’ve come to expect from super hero comics, but with a slightly more realistic tone. This works well with some of the themes brought into the story, particularly with how well they resonate with the events in the news right now.

One effect I absolutely love comes when Originator uses her powers. The whole page shifts to a purple hue, showing just how strong this ability is and how wide-reaching its effects are. Letterer Fabio Amelia adds to this with a special font shown in a purple word balloon. Her powers come from words, so when she uses it, you definitely take notice.

There are two big hooks in Commanders in Crisis that will definitely have you clamoring for more. One comes in the origins of the team itself and the other comes in what its true enemy is. This is rife with possibilities and I cannot wait to see how this creative team will explore them. It’s incredibly hard to do something new and exciting in super hero comics, but Commanders in Crisis does just that with style.

Commanders in Crisis #1 from Image Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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