Aspen Comics went down an interesting path with the Idolized comic book which is their first super hero title. It was last year when they ran a contest on Facebook with three designs by artist Micah Gunnell and fans chose the final design for the characters. They are continuing with another contest to place a fan into the comic book. Of course, they were trumped by the earlier release of Jonathan Ross and Bryan Hitch’s similar America’s Got Powers released by Image Comics. While they share the superhero reality show, AGP has more of a cinematic, futuristic bent and Idolized is more set today and comments on the reality show trend.
The comic book’s writer, David Schwartz, also wrote the two issue limited series Meltdown by Image Comics that covers the final days of a hero whose powers are killing him. The zero issue introduced the show, Superhero Idol, with the prize of joining the super group, the Powered Protectors. The superheroine, Joule, walks out of her house with her parents apparently dead and blames their death on the supervillain Stasis. She wants to join the Powered Protectors to exact her revenge on him. The first issue opens with Joule’s audition for the show. She relates to the judges that as a child she witnessed Stasis throwing a superhero into a tanker that explodes. The young Joule tried to save them with her energy powers, but was not strong enough to protect them. She then montages into her training in mind, body, and powers. One of the judges pushes her to prove that she can shut down his mind and in anger she does so which puts her on the show.
So onto Idolized #2. The covers have alternate art by some formidable artists like Arthur Adams, Humberto Ramos, and series artist Micah Gunnell. There are also photo covers with model Rachel Clark dressed as Joule. The issue titles are clever twists on 80’s songs. In the case of issue #2, a little Beastie Boys with “No Sleep `Till Top Ten.” The comic book opens with Joule fallen with other defeated super heroes. Then, it flashes back four months to the contestants being whittled down from thousands to 198. The judges don’t think Joule has what it takes with an interesting comment that also points to what sells in comic books, “Muscles, boobs and battles!”
The other contestants are wrapped up in their chance for personal glory and Joule leaves her room to train. She is faced by another contestant who thinks she is taking the show too seriously. Eventually, the show narrows the contestants down to 20 and they have a final battle with holograms of supervillains. There are many reality show moments such as when the hosts shouts, “Hologram on!” Of course, Joule faces a hologram Stasis. The audience is taken with the moment that Joule defeats Stasis, destroying his hologram form since she controls energy. The final ten contestants are announced, but the end of the issue has the host telling Joule that she has been disqualified. Gunnell’s pencils capture the superhero action and also Joule’s emotional journey.