The Atomic Victory Squad is an independent comic book series from creator Lowell Dean (Wolfcop, Supergrid), artist Javier Martin Caba, cover artist Joel Hustak and letterer Micah Myers. Here is my review of issues 2 and 3:
The Atomic Victory Squad is a globe-trotting, world smashing superhero comic with characters that could only exist in animated form. They’re a team of unique misfits, forced to defend the earth when all the “real” heroes are violently killed.
Buy all three issues of this incredible Canadian indie comic gem right NOW AND RIGHT HERE!
After Lowell Dean’s explosive debut issue, which I absolutely loved in every way, we now have issues 2 and 3 of The Atomic Victory Squad to embrace and hold in our greedy sweaty hands thanks to successful crowd-sourcing campaigns. I’d say that I’m shocked at how well this story has been crafted considering it’s 100% independent and isn’t being pushed through a publisher, but that isn’t the case. If there were any justice in the world, AVS would be on every comic store shelf across the country. Creator and writer Lowell Dean’s background comes from the world of film (Check out Wolfcop, Another Wolfcop & Supergrid) – so he knows how to tell a story and even though this is a different medium, I find the two bounce off one another very well. Visually, The Atomic Victory Squad feels very cinematic in the way that the panels are framed and how the story progresses feels like a fine-tuned machine that has been well thought out and carefully planned for a long time.
Javier Martin Caba’s art has brought such life to these wacky and unusual superheroes in ways I didn’t anticipate. He’s managed to embrace the silliness of each ability but also humanizes each and every outlandish hero on this team and grounds them with intense and captivating backstories. On one page Gary The Mime is flying on a fire-breathing unicorn that rains death upon a prison of escaped convicts, and then in the next he’s crying in the shower in one of the more compelling reveals of the series so far. Issue 2 delivers on the action that was teased at the very end of the last chapter but what I loved even more were the character interactions as the AVS finally begins to work and celebrate the little victories as a sorta-fully functioning hero squad. There are actually TWO romantic storylines so far and both are intriguing as Hell considering this is the same comic where a woman turns into a giant bird and drops a giant shit onto a villain called Cereal Man’s head.
The Atomic Victory Squad has managed to balance the outlandish elements that come from a superhero comic, while still retaining all the very real human emotions that characters with these powers and responsibilities would carry with them in a real-world setting. Dean has managed to create one of my favorite comic series of the year, if not my very favorite so far for 2019 and I genuinely mean that. This series deserves to be re-printed though a major publisher ASAP and as much as it would pain me to see Dean take a break from directing, he’s just too damn good at writing comics and I’d love to see him complete these first five issues and then tackle something else in the comic world. He’s teased that he could make some killer Alpha Flight books for Marvel by the way – so let’s hire the man to do a one-shot and reboot Canada’s premiere superhero team.
While issue 2 is all about the team’s first major scuffle and official formation of the new AVS, issue 3 deepens the mystery surrounding the villainous Ridando as more layers are peeled back with yet another jaw-dropping conclusion that sets up the final two issues of this story arc. I didn’t see those twists coming either – so well done Dean and crew. While you were making me laugh my ass off with that Basic Instinct homage at the start of issue 2 or making me spit my morning coffee on my keyboard because the anchor for DNN (who happens to be a talking dog) ends the broadcast with “Death to all cats” — there were more devious intentions simmering under the surface of this story. These are all the signs of a great writer executing his vision in splendid fashion and I don’t read many books that find can strike this balance of comedy with tragedy so well like AVS. I’d compare the vibe to mainstream comics like SAGA or The Boys, which is well deserved high praise and again I would credit that execution to Dean’s background as a storyteller who has a particular knack for comedy and action.
The Atomic Victory Squad issues 2 and 3 are better than most comics on stands today so I can’t stress enough that you should take the extra effort to track them down. PS – I loved the little cameos sprinkled throughout these two comics. I recognized everyone from Lowell Dean himself, his frequent collaborator and make-up effects guru Emersen Ziffle to even Michael Jari Davidson (he’s worked with Dean as a cinematographer!). If you back these books on IndieGoGo – you too can get a cameo or character featuring your likeness, so keep a close eye on upcoming issues because that’s one helluva cool perk for supporting badass comics.
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