The titular character of Elemental Micah is Micah Sampson, a mostly self-effacing, young guy all of 17. Aside from the self-doubting nature, Georgiou should be noted for making Micah unlike other gay leads of late. He’s not a heroic nelly a la Brian Andersen’s Psyche in So Super Duper, nor is he of the uber masculine or prepossessing bear tropes. He’s a bit of a socially inept geek minus any of the usual geek interestests, a little overweight (which for some gay men might as well be morbidly obese) with average looks, a broken nose (and a story to go along with it), and an unruly mop of hair with no discernible trace of a fabulous fashion sense. In other words, Micah’s pretty much your average Joe, well, bloke, as the story setting is London.
The story begins the morning of Micah’s last day working in a store grocery department (or the tin department if you’re British). He’s trying to come up with excuses not to go in when his best (girl) friend Dana catches him in a bit of an embarrassing situation. Ever supportive, if not a bit clingy – and Georgiou gives a reason for this in the second issue – Dana reminds Micah it’d be his last chance to ask the sexy Simon for a date – something he’s wanted to do but not had the nerve. Alas, it seems fated not to happen as Simon (nicknamed Captain Birdseye, an advertising figure associated with Birdseye frozen fish the way Aunt Jemima is with pancakes here) has taken his younger brother to the airport. Much to Micah’s chagrin, Simon does arrive at work and we can see he’s everything Micah isn’t: lean, lanky, long haired, self-confident, and a huge flirt. So much so that he hardly bats an eye when maneuvering an invitation for dinner chez Micah.
Strange incidents involving wind throughout the day serve to foreshadow bizarre and powerful events stemming from Micah as Simon teases and rocks Micah’s world, after Dana’s been shuffled off stage so she can prepare for her own sordid adventure mixing up flowers, hairspray, and a fork. If puberty is the catalyst for an otherwise normal appearing kid to develop mutant powers, but what if the catalyst is sex, or even the anticipation of sex with someone you desire? Georgiou answers that question, and it has both unforeseen consequences on personal and epic scales. Those personal outcomes explored in issue #3 were rather unexpected, especially what a traumatized person with fledgling powers might turn to when tragedy happens. It certainly wasn’t the “buck up” speech often recited by Superman or Captain America.
Georgiou’s strongest points here are his characters and ideas. Micah with his physical imperfections and insecurities are traits with which many of us can relate. Certainly at least I did at the age of 17, being thin, with big ears, and thick, horn rimmed glasses, and truth be told, sometimes still do, but let me not digress more. His naivete and dreams are sweet and refreshing. Simon has another layer behind the charm he so easily knocked over Micah with, and it isn’t so honorable. Despite this selfishness and a somewhat related act with tragic consequences that’s revealed in issue #3 I like him. There ought to be plenty of ideas to explore in the tension between Micah’s and Simon’s personalities and attitudes to make for interesting reading. How does Simon learn from Micah that a little humility can be good and Micah more self-confidence without becoming “Dark Micah”? Then there’s quintessential best pal Dana who encourages and consoles poor Micah. She’s also had a troubled relationship, as revealed in a subplot in the middle issue. And she’s quick to improvise tableware for alternate uses. She may be a good cheerleader, but I also get the feeling she’s a bit clingy and dependant on the boy. I wonder if some of the bits of these characters are based on real events.
The first issue is told in a very linear fashion with some experimentation taking place in the two following issues. The story of Micah is very much told in the story’s here and now, with the exception of a couple brief mentions about Nathan O’Collory whom Micah knew when he was 11. The incident was a formative one for Micah and I think not expanding on it if only for a few panels is a missed opportunity.
As noted by François Peneaud in his Elemental Micah review, Georgio’s art is less accomplished than the writing here. I tend to agree but hardly think this is an issue to prevent enjoyment. Unless the reader is a die-hard mainstream superhero fan who insists on George Perez style realism. This type of reader, or at least some of the ones with whom I’m familiar are upset when a comic is done in B & W. The sensibilities here in art and writing seem to me a hybrid of superheroes and slice of life and as such are going to appeal more to indy comics an zine readers. Strangely though, there was a noticeable difference in looking at the review PDF copies on two different monitor displays, much nicer when viewed on a borrowed new laptop compared to my newish flat screen monitor. As commercial printers typically have the best of all things, print copies should have the nicer quality I saw using the laptop.