AfterShock’s New Series ‘Project Patron’ Answers: What If Superman Was Replaced By A Replicant When He Died?

by Olly MacNamee

Okay, okay, maybe not THE Superman, but a Superman analogy. So, in a way comics have already done that one with the likes of Hyperion, Supreme, Apollo and now Patron from writer Steve Orlando, artist Patrick Piazzalunga, and colour artist Carlos Lopez:

“Thirty years ago, the world watched in horror as The Patron, a hero sent as humanitarian aid from a different dimension, went punch for punch with Woe, a primordial beast and a perfect match for our mighty protector. In the end, hero and villain alike fell…but the Patron returned – and continues to defend us to this day!

At least, that’s what we’ve all been told.

The truth is, the Patron died that day along with Woe. The UN replaced the Patron with a Reploid, designed to mimic the real Patron and continue on his mission of protection.

Today, the Patron Reploid is secretly piloted by an elite team – a team prepared for anything… except for the death of one of their own.”

That’s the lowdown on the new series, Project Patron from Aftershock Comics and an interesting take on a heavily used comic book trope. Y’know, like the ‘Death of Superman’ storyline. Who at the time had a number of pretenders running around such as Steel, Superboy and Cyborg Superman. Sound like antagonist Woe may well be a Doomsday analogy himself. But this series is nothing that at all, as Orlando points out:

“This is the story of the team that pilots that Reploid, the people secretly behind the Patron’s continued heroism, and the incredible sacrifices they make. Piloting the Patron Reploid might be the greatest thrill in history, but it comes at a price: total anonymity, and a gig where every flight knocks a year off your life. The pressures on the team are enormous…so when a tragedy strikes at the heart of Project Patron, the world hangs in the balance as the greatest secret in modern history trembles on the brink of revelation.”

Incentive cover By Aaron Lopresi

Visually Patron looks like a cross between Supreme and Apollo, but the real imsprtaion is obvious and Orlando does rightfully address the obvious – and intentional – comparison to ‘The Death of Superman’, as well as a few other inspirations:

“This book is Curt Swan’s Superman meets Mobile Suit Gundam, combining two iconic storytelling modes to create a new one. The inspirations clicked together for me so quickly with Project Patron – it started with “what if Gundam starred a Superman Robot?” And when I thought further, it grew into not just that basic idea, but with additional hints of classic works like T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and a deconstruction of ‘  The Death of Superman’, one of the best known Superman stories of all time. “What if Superman’s death was a cover-up?” Project Patron answers that, with the sacrifice, intrigue, epic battles and cascading webs of conspiracies and lies that turn our faith as a society into a perilous house of cards.”

Wanna take a sneak peek at the first issue? We got you covered. But, do look out for the first issue landing at comic store near you (or, safer still, online) April 7th 2021 from AfterShock Comics


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