Our Supermom Vol. 1: Family Matters: Review

OSM_c01Our Supermom Vol. 1: Family Matters – Available Soon

by Aaron Einhorn
It should be no secret that I am a fan of Scott Bachmann’s writing. Yes, he happens to be a friend of mine, but that doesn’t mean I automatically have to like everything he produces. I’ve got several good friends who are published authors whose books don’t appeal to me.

I’ve already reviewed his first novel, The Paragon of Animals here. Today, I’m turning my eye to his comics. Liza Lang, the protagonist of The Paragon of Animals finishes that book as a newly transformed superhero. But the events of that knowledge are some fifteen years in the past. Liza’s story continues, and she ends up getting married and having two children. But how does one balance being the world’s most powerful superhero with being a mother? That’s the story that Bachmann explores in Our Supermom.

Our Supermom has been running on-line at OurSupermom.com since Fall of 2011, with print copies of the individual issues available from Print-On Demand, thru DriveThru Comics and by finding Bachmann at a convention. Now, the first arc of Our Supermom is coming to a close, and the first four issues of the comic are being collected in Our Supermom Vol. 1: Family Matters.

I was given a copy of the book to pre-read and review, and it was a pleasure to go back and refamiliarize myself with the story of Liza, Leon, Mark and Gail that I’ve been reading one page at a time for the past two years. But how does the collected story work as a trade paperback? Read on to find out.

OSM_01Our Supermom is the story of Liza and how she balances the responsibilities of being a (mostly retired) superhero with being a mother. Liza has to juggle all of the normal challenges of parenting with occasionally stopping a disaster – a daunting enough task. But that wouldn’t be enough for this story, and Bachmann gives us much more. In addition to these issues, Liza must also deal with a new vigilante who has set up shop in her town, watching her children develop superpowers of their own, and watching as her powers begin to fade away.

What we end up with is a comic that mixes humor and action, and creates a story that is enjoyable by older fans of superhero comics, while still being accessible to kids. I love Our Supermom as a superhero comic, but my wife enjoys it for the realistic portrayal of motherhood (well, realistic except for the whole superpowers thing), and both of my daughters can have fun reading it as well – with the characters of Markie and Gail there to be identifiable to them.

From other works, I knew I would enjoy Bachmann’s writing, but one of the things that was a variable for the book was going to be the artwork. Having a good penciler can make or break a comic series after all, and I’m pleased to say that the pencils of Scott D. M. Simmons are more than equal to the challenge. Simmons has a cartoony style that isn’t overexaggerated and off-putting. It manages to convey both the light-hearted tone of most of the book, but still has enough depth and realism that the more serious moments are discordant with the art.

OSM_02Does that mean that Our Supermom Vol. 1: Family Matters is a perfect graphic novel? No. As enjoyable as the story is, it’s obvious – especially in the first “issue” – that Bachmann is still learning to balance the needs of a page-a-week comic against the need to have a smooth transition when the title is collected in to a trade paperback. There are several beats that remind the reader that these stories were originally broken in to much smaller chunks for audience consumption. These issues fade away as the book continues, both from the reader getting used to it and as Bachmann gained skill as a writer.

In addition to all four issues of Our Supermom, Our Supermom Vol. 1: Family Matters also includes the bonus comic created originally for the Lexington Comic Con, and several pages of fan art featuring Liza and company.

Our Supermom Vol. 1: Family Matters completes this chapter for Liza Lang, the Paragon. But considering that Bachmann has written and published one novel for Liza, with a second one on the way, we can hope that this isn’t the end of her story.

Our Supermom Vol. 1: Family Matters will be available soon through DriveThru Comics and at ScottComics.com.