Scriptwriter Mark Russell and cartoonist Steve Lieber bring us the most capitalist side of the superhero profession in One-Star Squadron, a hilarious tome published by ECC Ediciones
Mark Russell He is one of those scriptwriters who does not lavish himself enough and who counts his works as successes. His latest work, very much in line with the rest of the things he has been doing in recent years, comes to us thanks to ECC Editions and it is a superheroic satire in which he is accompanied by the cartoonist Steve Lieber and the colorist Dave Stewart, and which comes to us under the title of One-Star Squadron.
Superheroes in The Office
Russell does not break away from that component of social criticism that almost all his works usually carry and now he takes us to accompany a group of superheroes for a few days who have been eaten by capitalism and whose altruism is not that he is in doubt, it is that does not exist. The setting will be in a good part of the narrative an office such as that of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, where behind the desks we find not the American middle class one might expect but guys in capes. In any case, they continue to be just as expendable and nondescript for their managers as any office worker in the real world…
No, Mark Russell didn’t invent the concept of superheroes performing heroic (or not-so-heroic) acts for money, but with this book he takes it a level further. One-Star Squadron (I noted the difference from the much more recognizable title of All-Star Squadron) is made up of a group of heroes of limited fame (this name being very generous in some cases) who are dedicated to earning their wages in jobs ranging from bodyguards to being the attraction of young Timmy’s eighth birthday party.
This scenario is ideal for the writer to make a sarcastic approach to work environments of this type as well as the culture of star ratings, and he will do so using a group of characters who, with the honorable exception of Red Tornado o Power Girl, probably no one recognizes. Job insecurity, always caused by the dominance of large corporations over certain market areas, and the existential emptiness of an unsatisfactory job at any level will be the factors that lead this group of characters to situations ranging from pathetic to comical. going through a wide range of dramas.
Not all the heroes wear a coat
Although the tone of the work is markedly pessimistic (again, this is common in Russell’s work, although especially when the central theme is environmentalism, as in Billionaire Island), the screenwriter leaves a small space for hope. Small, but still big enough to let in a ray of sunshine.
In this sense, the story seems made for all that potential audience that can probably be identified with one of these characters to a greater or lesser extent, with the intention of reflecting on the employment situation in which so many people find themselves and on that absence of a bright future on the horizon, but leaving room for the possibility that if you fight things can get better. It’s just a matter of waking up, letting go of the TV remote and trying to take the reins of life.
But as always, Russell is more concerned with asking the right questions than providing answers. This work is, in a premeditated way, for the reader.
With regard to the graphic section, if one observes the work of Steve Lieber in works such as The Fix o Jimmy Olsen, Superman’s friend you will quickly come to the conclusion that he is an ideal cartoonist for a story like this. His style matches perfectly with the tone that Russell impregnates this story, halfway between parody and drama, and to top it off he sees his work colored by the greatest, the always great Dave Stewart.
In short, this is another work by Mark Russell that, like the rest of his work, quickly becomes essential. Refrain from readers without a sense of humor or who only look for pages full of fights between people dressed in tights.
This volume that comes to us under the title of One-Star Squadron is presented in hardcover cardboard format. The volume contains 144 color pages and includes the translation of the American edition of the six numbers that make up the series of the same name, as well as the original covers of each of the numbers included. The recommended retail price is 18.95 € and was put up for sale in December 2022.
Not all heroes are Superman, Wonder Woman, or Batman. There are some who, in addition to saving the world with some frequency, also have to work to eat, to pay the bills… And that is where Red Tornado and a peculiar organization come in that anyone in need can ask for help. And all through the internet!
But of course, when it comes to superheroic matters, even the simplest assignments can end up complicated.
Mark Russellscreenwriter of The Flintstones y The Wonder Twinsreturns to his old ways in a volume full of humor and action that draws Steve Lieber (Jimmy Olsen, Superman’s friend).
Authors: Mark Russell, Dave Stewart and Steve Lieber
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