There’s this television from the early ’80s called ‘The Greatest American Hero’ where William Katt played a high school teacher, who finds gets an alien suit, but loses the instructions. During the show, Katt’s character learns to be a hero. Though he doesn’t quite stick the landing after flying, the high school teacher has a deeper understanding of what it means to be selfless. In volume II of ‘Geek Girl: Crime War’ not everyone who wears a costume learns that lesson.
Written and created by Sam Johnson with artwork by Carlos Granda, Chunlin Zhao and Paul McLaren ‘Geek Girl’ is a collected work of the original series of comic books. In the beginning issues Summer is taking over the superhero duties of her friend who’s in a coma. Summer tries, but doesn’t feel as capable as the original Geek Girl. What comes to light is that the so called hero who she’s replacing isn’t exactly honorable. Through flashbacks the reader finds out how Ruby got hold of the tech that helped her gain powers. Further along you get the sense that that coma Ruby’s in was in part brought on by her hubris and her shallow reasoning for gaining abilities. It’s like her only goal was to be a social media star and not actually saving lives. In the true sense of the word Summer appeared to be an actual hero, even without the technology to make her Geek Girl she tries to help. Though she nearly gets killed in the process.
The covers of these collected issues take aspects of the overarching storyline and keeps you interested. One comic book cover shows the leader of a gang with half the face of a pig. It’s not a mask. You may wonder what sort of world you’ve stumbled into with villains who look that menacing. In part that’s what independent comics do, push and bypass boundaries. By setting the narrative in a real place, Granda, Zhao and McLaren get to put fantastical characters in situations that intersect with science-fiction without having to have lengthy backstories.
The league of larcenists come into play later on, mostly because of their technology. There’s also a shady developer that plays any side that will make him the most money. More importantly, Ruby begins to understand that to be a hero you can’t be shallow and selfish. Doing something for the pure glory of it won’t get you far. What Ruby is doing is learning to work well with others and that a well-placed thank you can go a long way.
Overall this trade paperback is filled with solid art, a good story and characters you’re invested in. Perhaps taking a chance on comics that aren’t DC or Marvel will help you get in touch with a whole new world of characters that are original, refreshing and relatable.