What happens when supervillains decide to just quit? That it’s not worth the dental work to keep getting into it with superheroes? That’s what Christian Read and Emily Smith take a look at in their Gestalt title, Unmasked.
Simon and his wife, Nancy, used to be supervillains – it looks like they were part of a conglomerate, or, at the very least, a small gang of super-powered villains. Those days are over – they were tired of always losing to the superheroes – and Simon spends his day as a bouncer at a strip joint, his nights as the muscle for a loan shark. Nancy has a talent with toys and runs a successful business. But they both miss the thrill of being the bad guys – so much, that their love life is fired up by the mere prospect of getting on their costumes and reliving the bad old days.
And then, the past comes knocking on their door. One of their supervillain league – the boss, even – is just as bored with retirement as Simon and Nancy, and wants to get back in the game. But not by putting a cape on again – they’re smart enough to stay under that radar – but career criminals? That’s something entirely different.
Unmasked is a gritty but fun read. There’s nothing glamorous about the post-supervillain life here, as we see through Simon’s eyes. Heck, there’s nothing glamorous about his supervillain life, truth be told – but the story caught me. Who thinks about a supervillain retiring and going underground, especially to jobs like bouncer and hired muscle? This is a super-powered rags-to-riches-to-rags story, and I like this idea. I’m interested in seeing where Simon, Nancy, and any other supers we meet along the way take us.
Emily K. Wilson has art duties on the book, and she is good. There’s a lot of grit and grime on these digital pages; Simon looks as sleazy as writer Christian Read makes him out to be. There’s a strong undercurrent of goals unfulfilled, frustration, and possibly, renewal both in the writing and the art, which comes together beautifully. I’m very happy I sat down and checked this out on Comixology, and for $1.99, there’s no reason why you should pass it up, either. I give this a 4/5.
Check out some of Unmasked #1. Pictures courtesy of the Gestalt Comics website.
Writer: Christian Read
Artist: Emily K. Smith
Format: Digital Comic
Pub Date: 10/2/13
Publisher: Gestalt Comics
Age Rating: 15+ Only
Available on Comixology and Gestalt Comics