Published on December 11th, 2015 | by Steven Roman
Review: The Troop #1
There are superpowered beings in the world—feared, loathed, and hunted by a mysterious organization with religious overtones that regards them as “demons” that must be dealt with. But what is this organization, and why is it so concerned about a “prophecy” that involves eliminating people with superpowers?
That’s the premise behind The Troop #1, written and created by Noel Clarke (whom sci-fi fans may remember as companion Mickey Smith from Doctor Who), illustrated by Joshua Cassara (Riders, Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor: Year Two), and published by Titan Comics. It’s Clarke’s take on the superhero genre, one that seems to take influence from the works of Mark (Kick-Ass) Millar, given the liberal use of “fuck” sprinkled in the dialogue, the brutally violent deaths, the bedroom scene involving full-frontal nudity…and the complimentary pull quote from Millar on the front cover.
Sort of a mash-up between the Fantastic Four and the X-Men with a religious overtone, it presents us with: “Terrain”—an Australian teenager named Stephanie (no surname given) who can turn to stone; Jeanette Lafleur (I assume it’s Jeanette; we see only half of her first name on a “Have You Seen Me?” poster; otherwise, she’s never addressed by name), a little Canadian girl whose touch causes deadly infections; and Phil Ellis, a Canadian teen who controls fire—the fact that one of his attackers refers to him as “hotshot” would seem to be a strong indicator that that will become his superhero name. And leading them is a mysterious, older man whose name we never learn, who appears to be the teleporting, gun-toting, father-figure Professor Xavier to this trio of young mutants. (He’s also banging Terrain on the side—I did mention there was a Millar influence to this story, didn’t I?)
Everyone here is damaged, in some form or another, and it’s their tragic pasts that will no doubt be the driving force behind this five-issue miniseries—no surprise, given Clarke’s pedigree as the writer of the indie film Kidulthood and its follow-up, Adulthood, which explored the lives of troubled London teens.
Artwise, Cassara matches Clarke strength-for-strength, whether it’s action scenes or quiet character exchanges. His art style, which seems to take its cues from Top Cow Comics artists like Marc Silvestri and Ken Cha, should do well to draw the eye of superhero fans to this title.
Bottom line? The Troop doesn’t really break any new ground when it comes to the superhero genre, but Clarke has introduced some interesting damaged characters, and Cassara does well in bringing them to four-color “life.” Give it a try.
The Troop #1
Written by Noel Clarke
Art and main cover by Joshua Cassara
Publisher: Titan Comics
36 pages • full-color
Now on sale