What would our world be like if things remained the same with one notable exception: superheroes really existed? How would they fit into a society where corporations and the 1% control access to resources? What type of restrictions would these superhumans face? Super Corporate Heroes brilliantly satirizes this notion by creating a civilization where only licensed superheroes can utilize their powers to benefit humanity, but the only licensing agent in the US is a gargantuan corporation, Superhero, Inc. Individuals with special powers who work without licensing face legal action; however, even licensed superheroes face restrictions on the use of their abilities. Only individuals with rescue insurance or the ability to pay up front can be rescued, and heroes face disciplinary action for aiding the uninsured. Depending on the emergency, it’s sometimes cheaper to just not be rescued!
Not all superheroes are created equal in this corporate super world either. Some, like American Icon and Ms. Titanium, command top salaries and high profile rescue opportunities while others are mere contract workers sent out to perform at children’s birthday parties. The top tier supers are treated like major celebrities, with all of the perks and problems that go with the position, while the contract guys struggle to get by in the mercenary world. And, Heaven forbid if you have an ability like poor fly/spider hybrid Spinlar, who makes normal humans disturbed by how he produces his signature webs!
Corporatizing superheroes doesn’t remove amazing villains from the equation, it just makes them more organized and with better connections! Bradshaw Winters, reclusive industrialist, moonlights as Invisible Hand, a virtually indestructible villain who is actually a remote-controlled humanoid robot. He is working to organize New York City-area villains into a powerful unit to wreak havoc while using his public power and money to pull strings in the political and financial sectors.
The story in Super Corporate Heroes doesn’t stop at satirizing the corporatization of America. It looks at issues such as the effects of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, gender discrimination in the workplace, the difference between how celebrities/the rich and average individuals are treated by the media and the legal system, and political corruption. Amazingly, it keeps a lighthearted tone throughout the 100-plus pages and remains entertaining even when serious concerns underlie the tongue-in-cheek portrayal. This first volume doesn’t seem to have a clear, overarching story, but it’s introducing the first piece in a multi-volume plot. Presumably, all of the individual pieces will tie together by the final release.
The artwork in this graphic novel is old-school superhero comic book style, but it fits given that Guerra and Dias have taken the traditional Golden Age superhero story and turned it on its head. It’s not my favorite art style, but I can’t deny that anything else would feel odd in this piece.
Overall, I can’t praise Super Corporate Heroes enough. It made me laugh, examine some of my views on current political issues, and think about our world while giving me an enjoyable reading experience. Besides, what’s not to love about the informative character bios near the end of the volume?
5 Rescue Insurance Special Package Deals out of 5