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Quincredible at Heart
Set in a New Orleans still recovering from Hurricane Katrina this is a familiar story of a boy struggling with newfound abilities. In Quinton West’s case, this happens after a meteor shower dubbed “The Event” gifted him the power of invulnerability but no other powers to compliment it. Quin reluctantly decides to fight crime after being encouraged by another local superhero who sees potential in him that he does not see in himself.
Quincredible Vol. 1: Quest to Be the Best! is published by Oni Press and will be available from your local comic book store from 23 Feb 2021.
Quincredible #1 Story
Quincredible is a good start to a teen superhero comic. Quin is a nebbish loner with few friends. So far, so Peter Parker. Despite his invulnerability, Quin is a one-hundred pound weakling with no combat ability. Having a hero who’s power does not fit in well with their personality is an initially intriguing take on the teen superhero concept. Early on, Quin gets beat up by local hoods and makes no effort to fight back. Why should he?
Despite the pain he feels he’s not going to suffer any harm and eventually his attackers will get tired of wailing away at him. Even if he did have superstrength, I came away with the feeling that physical confrontation just is not Quin’s thing. I really liked this.
From there, we are introduced to the rest of Quin’s world. He has a loving mother and father, his crush Brittany who is a passionate local activist, and, cast of characters ranging from corrupt local officials to street thugs.
Unfortunately it’s all very much predictable paint by the numbers storytelling. I fully understand the decision to follow the well-established tropes of the genre. However, I did feel disappointed that the creative team did not decide to do something more original with the characters and story. It is fun and diverting while I was reading it, but none of the characters lingered in my memory afterwards.
Social-economical and racial inequality are themes that run through the book. These injustices form the motivations for the big bad, but their plan is so wrongheaded that it’s hard to believe anyone would follow it. It was confusing to the point where I re-read some of the book to make sure I hadn’t missed something.
Quincredible does a lot of things well enough to overlook these flaws. The relationship between Quin and his parents is tender, the action sequences are well-plotted, and, there is an abundance of humour in the book. Some of the gags genuinely had me giggling. The dialogue between Quin and his mentors is also engaging. It is a very pleasant read that is perfectly paced ( I read it all in one sitting). Cliched as it is there is a solid if unspectacular platform to build future adventures on.
Quincredible #1 Art
Selina Espiritu does a lot of good work in Quincredible. The style of the art is what I would describe as contemporary mainstream. It would not be out of place in a Marvel or DC title. The panel layouts and page pacing I felt were excellent. There is one sequence where Quin had a video call with his mother that I just loved.
Espiritu is a superb visual storyteller that is equally comfortable with dynamic actions scenes as they are with dialogue-heavy exposition sequences. If there is a weakness in her work, it is with the character and costume design. I felt these were occasionally flat. For example, Quin’s dad has an interesting face to look at, with a good-natured world-weariness about it.
However, Quin himself looks like an average kid. There is nothing about his appearance or body language to suggest that he shouldn’t have friends or would be an easy target which is an essential part of the story. A shame considering that the actual storytelling elements (facial expressions, shot selections, etc.) are all first-rate. Kelly Fitzpatrick’s colouring is classy. While growing up reading comics, I noticed that people with brown skin were all coloured the same shade of brown.
To my eye, Fitzpatrick gave every character of colour their own skin tone, which was good. They also do some clever work with background tones to imply the character’s emotional state—all lovely stuff. Tom Napolitano lettering is unfussy and slick. They have a lot do, and there are some very subtle touches with SFX that I felt were cleverly done, especially around some of the action sequences. They did a very good job.
Quincredible I think is aimed at middle schoolers or Young Adults. I imagine for them Quincredible is going to be a fun, action-packed adventure story. Quin is a likeable enough protagonist, and the story is well told for what it is. For older readers, it is a tad predictable bordering at points on cliche. That said there is enough action and humour in the book to keep most readers engaged.