There Are Some Problems You Can’t Punch Your Way Out Of In Hope #1
by James Ferguson
There is more than enough room in comics for another superhero, especially one from Dirk Manning and K Lynn Smith. The duo has brought Hope into the world, a costumed “Ultra” who is secretly Julie Lavelle. Not even her own family knows that she goes out into the world as a hero. Julie’s life, both in and out of costume, is changed forever when a family trip takes a tragic turn.
The Marvel Universe is set in our world, so it deal with real world events and locations. Hope tackles a problem at the root of super hero stories that I haven’t seen explored in this way before. I will be wary of spoilers because the closing moments of this issue hit like a punch to the gut and deserve to be witnessed first hand. What I will say is that it digs into the idea of secret identities and how they would exist (or not exist) in today’s day and age.
Writer Dirk Manning is known for some solid character work and Hope is no different. We spend just a few pages with Julie and her family and we’re instantly pulled into their lives in a relatable manner. The twist with Julie’s super hero life only adds to it.
What sets Hope apart is how artist K Lynn Smith paces the issue. We saw this in her work on Plume and it works wonders here. She’ll hold on a specific look from a character for an extra panel, adding some additional weight to it. This allows for deep, emotional moments to sink in, as well as the occasional joke to get a bigger laugh. As Julie’s life is forever transformed by the events of this issue, this becomes so very important to telling the story and allowing you to feel the gravitas of the situation.
We don’t get into Hope’s origins or even what exactly her super powers are. None of that matters here. Instead, we’re immediately plugged into her time as an established “Ultra” and how that affects her life at home with her family. There’s no need for talk about great power and great responsibility in this case. It’s implied.
Hope is not your typical super hero book; it’s something more. Yes, we’ve got a main character who can fly and punch through walls, but that’s not the focus here. What matters most is her life under the mask and how that is forever changed in an instant. There are some problems in life that you can’t punch your way out of and that’s exactly what we’re seeing play out in this book.
Hope #1 is currently only available directly from the creators, Dirk Manning and K Lynn Smith. You’ll soon be able to get your hands on a copy as Source Point Press will be releasing it as their Free Comic Book Day 2019 offering, so keep an eye out for it at your local comic shop. You do not want to miss it.