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Elemental Micah #4

Michael Georgiou

$2.99 from IndyPlanet
UK Residents see below

The last we saw of 17 year old Micah Sampson he’d discovered the guy of his dreams had spent some time literally up a tree and our lovelorn hero had begun to learn how to control his powers. He learns that there are limitations after turning his powers inward in an effort to heal his eyes. Georgiou leaves Micah and the reader in a cliffhanger ending with apparently terrible consequences. Issue four begins by recounting an incident in a series of tense and fear frought sequences involving covert ops that adversely affects the Sampson family, especially young Micah, as is shockingly revealed by his father, making for an equally gripping “Oh no! What’s next?” ending.  So much happens in this issue that I want to overlook that there is nary a mention of Micah’s literally bloody predicament from the previous installment. Georgiou cuts the story between events. The covert ops sequences take place ten years in the past and reveal Kevin, Micah’s adoptive father, to be an interogater well trained in torture techniques and he’s quite willing to use them in the service of his country. These scenes are quite gruesome, and Kevin might easily be viewed as a monster, however necessary a monster might be for national security, if it weren’t for the scenes in which a vulnerable, caring, and compassionate man are revealed.

The other half of this issue occurs in Micah’s present day. Georgiou certainly doesn’t go easy on Micah, as he puts him through an emotional wringer and squeezes just a little bit harder, almost as if with a bit of glee. Initially Micah shows a sense of compassion for Simon, whose formerly broken legs, now healed by one of Micah’s powers, are still stiffly encrusted in casts as he and Dana haul him wheelchair bound up a flight of stairs. It’s meant to be an awkward scene, and it gives best friend Dana a chance to smart off. Otherwise she’s her usual chipper, supportive, and gently chiding self. Well, mostly except for the end. I’ll get to that. That concern Micah displays quickly changes after Simon unintentionally outs Micah to his Aunt Sal, another member of his chosen family. Simon might be forgiven for this indiscretion considering he’s awestruck by Aunt Sal, a woman known to the rest of the world as Babs Sinner, burlesque dancer extraordinaire. As we might imagine her social circles to be a bit more diverse than the matron who reguarly hosts the vicar to dinner, Sal is hardly shocked and proves rather supportive by encouraging full parental disclosure, playing an ill at ease Micah off his nearly giddy father. You’d think he’d be relieved, but remember what I wrote about squeezing the character in an emotional wringer. Micah’s anger toward Simon turns to disappointment as he starts to realize the disparity between his perception of Simon as an object of romance and lust and the reality of Simon and his emotional baggage. It’s a poignant scene done with close ups of torsos and arms till the panels showing them part ways. But we’re not done. Despite good intentions of a fatherly tete a tete, Kevin pushes his emotionally fragile son off the figurative cliff. Most moody teens shout or sulk. Micah pounds his fists on the hood of his car and dear dad gets a face full of the whirlind Micah unleashed at the series beginning and can’t make disappear. There must be a metaphor between Micah’s feeling overwhelmed by his feelings, emotional baggage, and a car trunk. But we’ve all had to learn to deal with our emotions so as not to have tantrums, and that’s what Micah begins to do with coaching help from dear ol’ dad. The story could end in some bit of congratulatory mumbo jumbo. Instead Kevin is unknowingly observed doing something odd to his son, something that should set a good portion of the cast in an uproar.

Georgiou greatly expands the scope of Elemental Micah by recounting incidents from Kevin’s semi secretive interrogation backstory. He does a good job balancing the spy world and the slice of life feel ambience as Micah goes about everyday life while trying to deal with newly found powers. A good deal of Micah’s charm comes from this grounding in the mundane world. Being in charge of every aspect of making a comic isn’t an easy task and I both admire and envy anyone who does it, as I’ve my own secret aspirations. It’s also one thing to do a one off story and another to do a series. Having said that, Georgiou might consider enlisting a little help in maintaining a bit more internal story consistency. For example, I re-read issue 3 to refresh my memory before immediately reading the current one. Two lines of dialog between Micah and Dina on page 28 in #3 refer to Simon and Aunt Sal having met off panel. This contradicts the scene in issue 4. Micah’s bleeding incident at the end of #3 will be another inconsistent point if it isn’t addressed soon.

LGBT characters have progessed quite a lot in mainstream comics in the past two plus decades, at least in quantity if not quality which depends on one’s subjectivity. Villainous characters aside, one can argue that gay and lesbian characters display some trait of idealized beauty. Georgiou’s Micah may be the first character which isn’t idealized and even if he isn’t, Georgiou should be applauded for the choice to give Micah a broken nose, wild hair, thick glasses, a chubby belly, and awkward stance. If this were an American comic there might be emphasis on figuring out which niche he fits into within the gay world rather than discovering and figuring out himself.

On the art side, Georgiou’s lines seem more confident. The flashback scenes of Micah’s father as Agent Sampson have a feeling of grime and dirt, as well they shoud. Present day scenes stand out in marked constrast as clean, open and have a sense of light even at the darket moment of Kevin’s unnerving revelation.

Visit the Elemental Micah wesbite. UK readers can purchase directly from Georgiou.

Elemental Micah at Indy Planet for US readers or buy a copy for your Kindle.

March 7, 2015
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