While creating stories, the search for novelty will lead us to ways of changing the status quo. Revolutionize the genre by asking questions no one asked before that may seem counterintuitive to the whole identity of the genre. For example, a significant change is making a flawed protagonist, which applies to every type of story. The idea of the perfectly healthy, super-powered billionaire doesn’t always work for the general audience because it is not relatable. The truth is, the vast majority of people who read these stories are not heroes and have many problems they need to face and aspects they need to improve in their lives, which is completely okay. And we want to see that on the page, a relatable struggle.
Spy Superb #1 by Matt Kindt and Sharlene Kindt is a spy story that questions the classic all-powerful, mega-intelligent, and strong spy. Is this the best spy? Wouldn’t it be better to have a spy who doesn’t even know he is a spy, someone malleable, not so bright, who will do as he is told without noticing the powers manipulating him? This person won’t know anything when questioned, so he is replaceable. Therefore, there is no dependency on an individual hero.
The comic follows Jay Bartholomew III, an aspiring, pretentious writer who believes he knows stuff the rest of the world doesn’t and is more intelligent than everyone else. Yet none of that is true. And I’m assuming he needs help and love, but he won’t admit it easily, if ever. He’s that kind of person. If you are on Twitter, you have seen that species. These people are perfect spies-not spies, as they are self-absorbed and overall idiots. And their unpredictability can turn them into great weapons. Despite the creators presenting Jay crudely as an idiot, they do so in a way that a small part of me roots for him because he is an ordinary person with problems.
In addition, this issue is an introduction to the Handler, the person in charge of picking the “useful idiots,” and the organization behind the Spy Superb program. Their goals remain a mystery, which elevates the story from a tale about Jay and his personal adventures to a large-scale spy thriller with high stakes and an unexpected protagonist.
Spy Superb #1 is an excellent first issue because it achieves something that few first issues achieve: creating an exciting world and compelling characters. It happens because this issue is 40+ long, with solid storytelling and a mix between action and character development. The art is beautiful and perfectly captures the character’s emotions. Using traditional six-per-page panels will facilitate new readers to understand comic book language while having fun with an innovative story. Here, I want to follow Jay’s story as much as I want to know more about the spy organizations and the mystery behind them.
In conclusion, this book defies the spy genre, so we can all identify with a spy – no need for training, secrecy, or nepotism. Every one of us has a set of skills that, oriented correctly, can be useful, which serves as a metaphor for life itself, and even as a meta-reference for this book. You take the unexpected, even something that people would say will fail, such as Jay, ourselves, or this book, and turn it into a perfect asset, showing that tradition doesn’t equal the correct or only way. Life is a long and complicated journey, so we can relate to being an underdog and still triumphing when no one expects it.