Leaving Megalopolis: Surviving Megalopolis #1 Review

Written by: Gail Simone

Art by: J. Calafiore

Publisher: Dark Horse

Leaving Megalopolis  was successfully funded by Kickstarter within the first 5 days of the project being started, raising over $100,000 from over a thousand backers in the 4 years since. Surviving Megalopolis, now published by Dark Horse Comics, continues with the dark, gory trends that we saw in the first, which also explored the dark recesses of human interaction, when faced with depravity, in apocalyptic scenarios. However, this issue also picks up the glimmer of hope in humanity that Leaving Megalopolis left us.

Gail portrays the traditional heroes as absolutely believable versions of themselves who have gone insane. When they rant about the past, of how ungrateful civilians were to them, and how much civilians had still feared them, it really strikes a cord with how we tend to view extra powerful beings. We are, all at once, awed and fearful of what powerful heroes can do and this relationship is a common portrayal in traditional hero comics as well, like Mr. Jameson and Spider-Man. At the same time, our human survivors are described as heroes by the media, although they wholeheartedly reject it. To them, what they sacrificed and what they did was a thankless task. What makes a hero? What is a hero? Gail has introduced and incorporated this symbolism and conflict of being a hero as a central plot point to this new story arc and she did it seamlessly.

Calafiore on the other hand, leaves very little to imagination with his visually bleak artwork, a nice precedent he set up with Leaving Megalopolis. The detail in the art is just as well done as Gail’s storytelling, and most of the time, we don’t need the dialogue to know what characters are thinking. Like the scene when Bennet unexpectedly grabs Harold’s knee while they’re in the bar. And then when Bennet begins flirting with him. And then, in the same scene, when Bennet very capably beats up the hooligans harassing Harold. Each of those scenes had minimal dialogue regarding what was happening, and yet as the reader, you could connect all of the emotions felt by the characters as if it was an ebook enthusiastically read to you. At the same time, his visually stunning scenes of a post apocalyptic mega city is just as detailed as other more realistically visual backgrounds (i.e. movies, TV Shows) You can feel the dread and hopelessness throughout the city just by exploring his set pieces. At the same time, he throws back a lot of homage to the traditional comic book stores, featuring our heroine Mina in one. Whether intentional or not, I found it was fitting that the comic book store was a place of refuge for her while former heroes and heroines continued demolishing the city.

The story picks up from where the last left off. Where Megalopolis was a cesspit of drowning hope as corrupted heroes tore everything and everyone apart and civilians gathered to sacrifice one another to the heroes, our survivors are the beaming light of hope that there is still goodness in mankind and in every letter of the word “hero”. This comic works very well as an anti-thesis to the traditional comic book hero and is definitely a must read.