Warning: this story centers around the events of a school shooting
School shootings are one of the most traumatic things a person can live through in modern Northern America, and sadly all too common. What if, during one of the most harrowing experiences of your young life, you developed powers? What if your latent, and dormant, powered abilities “ignited,” in a world without heroes? Humanoid Comics’ Ignited #1 wants to address just that. The series focuses on the lives of six newly powered individuals. It’s to be noted however, they are not heroes, let alone superheroes, and it is yet to be seen how these young adults will leverage these newly discovered gifts.
Issue one follows a narrative style through the voice, of Anouk Lovari one of Phoenix Academy’s students. As one of the survivors of the school shooting, we experience, through her eyes, the after-effects of the tragedy and how her fellow classmates are dealing with it. Anouk comments on what is normal and what’s not. She has a desire for life to go back to how it was, a way for her to fade back into obscurity.
The series covers a lot of real-life elements from the over excessive coverage from the media while putting the kids lives under a microscope, the knee jerk reaction from the Principal and the school board in favor of wide-scale security, and the reactions from the parents of the affected children. One particularly uncomfortable plot point is finding out that the school hierarchy intends to arm the teachers.
Ignited #1, is messy, heartbreaking, and takes a large risk in attempting to tell this story. School shootings are horrible, atrocious, and senseless acts of avoidable violence. It’s an uncomfortable topic that is far too real in the events of our actual lives. Waid and Osajyefo hone into this world by focusing in on the need for change. The lives of these students have changed forever, they can’t go back to how things were before, not for anyone involved. The introduction of activists Viral and Wave reinforce the point further, as they seek to undo the mandate of the school board to arm all of their teachers and faculty members. They seem to be seeking meaningful change, by giving a voice to the voiceless.
Brionne adds a lot of depth into all of the images within the issue. His background work related to the ‘Pheonix Strong’ and the sub-plot of the students from the school shows attention to detail. It’s clear he spent a lot of time and passion to bring the world of this high school life. There are panels with close to twenty faces.
One particular character, later in the issue, that was created stands out brilliantly and it’ll be exciting to get more backstory and see their powers develop. I appreciated how every page feels fresher from the last as the paneling structure changes from traditional to showing characters breaking from the boundaries of their borders. I also want to mention his panels that show the PTSD memories of Anouk as she recalls the shooting, it’s incredibly visceral.
One item I’m surprised wasn’t leveraged just a little bit more is highlighting the impact of the ignited powers of those kids affected. The setup story was well done, but there was little to no mention of why these events were ultimately different from any other catastrophe. In the prelude story, covered in the free comic book day issue, there is a large focus on the planetary shifting in response to global warming, almost pitching the idea that Earth had forced this change in these students as a way of choosing its guardians.
I believe this series will go on to tell a fascinating story from a unique point of view. This initial origin story, while uncomfortably focusing around an event such as a school shooting, doesn’t shy away from the controversy, instead opting to really explore all facets of the event. I just worry it could be a little too real, too raw for some readers.
Ignited #1 is available now.
This initial origin story, while uncomfortably focusing around an event such as a school shooting, doesn’t shy away from the controversy, instead opting to really explore all facets of the event. I just worry it could be a little too real, too raw for some readers.