Under The Radar: The Mighty

Under The Radar: The Mighty

Jun 29

Ever since the Buggles first performed “Video Killed the Radio Star” on a fledgling MTV, we’ve been hearing about the short attention spans of the “MTV Generation” and all those who’ve come after. You see it in movies, TV shows, news outlets, probably even in some churches; it’s the constant drive to compress everything, to shorten stories and ideas and information into the tiniest consumable bits imaginable. Because we who grew up with Music Television cannot possibly hold still long enough for anything to develop, to expand, to simmer.

The Mighty is a recently-launched ongoing series from DC Comics. It’s up to issue 5 now, and every month when the solicits come out, I hold my breath because I keep waiting for it to be canceled. It doesn’t have a great shot in this marketplace, mostly because it doesn’t feature stories that are unavoidably woven into the gigantic beautiful mess that is mainstream superhero universe continuity.

What also makes me nervous, and what makes The Mighty a great superhero comic, is that this isn’t a story being jammed into easily consumable bits for us vidiots raised by the television. It’s a story being told well, and being told slowly and carefully. It develops, it expands, it simmers.


The Mighty is the story of Alpha One, a Superman analogue, and Gabriel Cole, who heads up Section Alpha, the organization tasked with supporting Alpha One’s superheroic efforts. As the series starts, Cole is just taking over the organization after the mysterious death of his mentor. He is also starting to bond with Alpha One, someone he’s worked for but never really become friends with. As the two become friends and work together to protect humanity, we see subtle hints that suggest that Alpha One may not be quite as “heroic” as he appears to be. It’s a thin line of tension that’s been carefully strung through each of the issues so far (issue 6 hits stores this Wednesday, July 1).

Right now, the series seems just on the verge of unpeeling some of those mysteries. That’s five issues of character development, worldbuilding, and creating suspense. That’s unheard of in comics today. For most series, if you don’t start out of the gate with some kind of huge revelation or explosive event in issue 1, you can forget about it. That’s why we’ve seen so many series (especially at Marvel) launch out of events; it helps get those first issues some eyeballs when they’ve got an event banner splayed across the top of the cover.

The Mighty is taking its time developing its story, and it’s not in a decompressed way, because things do happen in each issue and there’s plenty of superheroics to scratch that itch. It’s just being carefully created with an eye toward telling what looks to be a detailed, intense story of power gone mad. Thank you, writers Peter Tomasi and Keith Champagne and artists Chris Samnee and Peter Snejbjerg, for giving us a superhero comic that doesn’t assume an attention span forced upon an unsuspecting youth by Music Television. The Mighty is taking its time, and I’m loving every page.


  1. Jeff

    I’ve read maybe one issue of this, and always mean to read the others. I’ve got to get on that.

  2. I’m definitely picking up the first trade of this, whenever that happens. Great review.

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