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The script for the one-shot Indestructible: Stingray was part of Darby Pop’s “Breaking Into Comics” contest. The storyline was chosen from a slew of possible scripts. The winning script was written by Jeff Marsick (Z-Girl: Odyssey). This script seemed to blow Darby Pop away—but will it blow away readers or get washed away with the tide?
Stingray is a new member of the League of Defenders. The team consists of The Mighty, Iron Giant, Power Princess, Blender and Gaia. However, while this aquatic superhero may be good for PR, she has a lot of secrets that threaten to cause a lot of trouble for the team.
The biggest accomplishment of this issue is that it makes me extremely interested in the Indestructible universe as a whole and not just Stingray. I am a newcomer to the universe and I worried going into this story that not only wouldn’t I be interested in the world at large, but that I would be lost in the world altogether. This issue did a great job showcasing the various characters on the team and only had a couple of references to past events that would have a first-time reader of the universe scratching their head. For the most part I was able to follow along and I really enjoyed the variety of personalities on the team.
You can read the first page to get an idea of the personality of each member of the team, but Marsick does a good job conveying these personalities within the story so you don’t just have to read exposition. The best examples of this are The Mighty and Power Princess. These two share a lot of dialogue that introduce the interesting aspects of the world and their conflicting personalities. Blender, Gaia and Iron Giant are less developed in the issue, but it isn’t supposed to be about them. It’s supposed to be about Stingray, and this is where some of the problems this one-shot has start.
Ironically, the titular Stingray was not the most interesting part of the issue and I often found myself wanting more from her character. The most enjoyable moment we get with Stingray is in the beginning of the story when there is disagreement about her superhero name. I like this argument over her name because it is a great introduction to her character and it adds in a little humor. The rest of the issue spends its time hinting that Stingray’s hiding something versus giving us her origin story. I would have liked a further exploration of her character. One of the secrets she’s keeping is kind of obvious early on. It’s the second secret that is more surprising and which ends the one-shot. This is a good moment and makes me want to read more. However, this is a cliffhanger for a one-shot, kind of disheartening since I think a good one-shot should include a complete story.
I do like how the story mentions how the world of Indestructible operates, specifically how it looks at the relationship between superhero teams, publicity and politics, which I think are interesting topics that should be further explored. This is first brought up between The Mighty and Power Princess when they’re talking about the good publicity their new recruit will bring them.
Luca Reguzzoni’s art is solid but it does have some telltale hang-ups that bother me. For instance, there is a decent group shot on the bottom of one page which has Stingray standing off to the side, a nice representation about how she isn’t really a part of the group. However, the scene is ruined by the bland white background that seems to out of places among all the other panels in which Reguzzoni took the time to draw backgrounds. The character designs are nice and varied, but many characters suffer from the age-old overlining that hurts the artwork somewhat. But again, this doesn’t make the artwork bad, it just doesn’t shine as brightly as it could, leaving it firmly in passable but not great territory. It’s also hard not to notice how beautiful the cover by Jeff Langevin in comparison. It is absolutely gorgeous with wonderful colors to go along with it and I would’ve loved to see what Langevin could have done with the interior as well.
I’m reviewing this one-shot as a non-Indestructible reader and as such, the story appears to make sense to me. If this issue is true to the characters and elements of the world, such as the importance of publicity in the superhero world, I’m looking forward to digging into even more Indestructible. However, it isn’t perfect as I didn’t really find myself getting very invested in Stingray since I was too busy enjoying everything else going on. There also is a cliffhanger ending, making this one-shot incomplete. I wish it was a mini-series rather than a one-shot so it could expand on the characters and story. But it was successful in that it makes me want to get into the universe of Indestructible.