Local Man #2
It's hard out there, being a superhero everyone hates. Once upon a time, everyone knew Jack Xaver as the local hero Crossjack, a revered member of the super group, Third Gen. After an infidelity scandal, he's become a social disgrace and lost his right to being a superhero.
Now, after returning to his hometown of Farmington to live out his dead end, Jack faces both the scrutiny of his hometown and the struggle of having to hang up his spandex. As a series of dark events, one of which would be the murder of his first archenemy, begins to unfold before him, the question of whether or not he will step up to save the day hangs in the air.
LOCAL MAN #2 is a superhero comic without any superhero action in its main page count, and yet, it is a masterclass in what a superhero story can be.
So far, the most vital aspect of this series is its rich character work. Jack Xaver isn’t the most complex, groundbreaking character in the world. He’s a down-on-his-luck superhero that everyone seems to take great pleasure in kicking down. However, he isn’t straddled with a one-note narrative or a lack of human complexity within his characterization that would make his story like every other.
In issue two, the team focuses on how Jack, not his superhero persona, has affected everyone around him. His relationship with justice, characterized by the issue’s opening arrest, doesn’t come from the powers or the cape. It comes from his innate want to do good.
The center of this plot relies on the cliffhanger from the last issue, utilizing the quick fridging of Jack’s first archenemy to push Jack out of his funk. Instead of bastardizing Jack to make him feel worthy, the issues stop to explore the complexity of raising a supervillain and the relationship one would have with their heroic opposites. Jack goes out to talk to Hodag’s mother. Jack navigates his guilt about Hodag’s beating at the hands of Gen 13 by understanding how, even in the mind of Hodag’s mother, he helped the villain in the long run. This is further characterized by Jack’s father, who mentions that Jack just wanted to teach kids art before the powers. His goal as a superhero was to save and inspire, not parade around as a celebrity. This being backdropped against his identity as a fly-over state citizen makes all the emotions feel even more real.
It gets at the core of this series’ goal as a reconstruction of 90’s superheroes. There is a trend to confuse deconstruction and emotional complexity in this genre, and Local Man isn’t trying to take Jack and break him down into his most essential elements. It’s addictive, building up an emotional narrative about perceived failure. In many ways, this issue is the anti-modern era comic. It’s a reminder of what superheroes can be. Inspiring, complex, and oh so very human, yet still innately good.
The dialogue and lettering are exquisite, well-written, and clear to the reader. It enhances the team’s art, which is even better in this issue than in the last. Fleec’s work in the main book is somewhere between realistic and classical, saying what it needs when the situations are dark and humorous. Seeley’s work in the backup is beautifully 90’s. The colors in both sections of this book are dynamic, adding depth to the art in the main story’s modern palette and the backup’s more poppy coloring aesthetic.
LOCAL MAN #2 is an excellent issue, focused on the exploration and development of Jack's complex relationships with everyone he knows. At a macro level, the team even touches upon his understanding of philosophical concepts, such as justice and the re-evaluation of mistakes.
At its core, Local Man has been growing into a deeply human series that explores identity in the fly over states by way of 90's superhero tropes, an unexpected yet completely genius premise.
Local Man #2: Here We Go Again
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 7/107/10
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