Metropolis Grove | Review
Writer/artist: Drew Brockington
DC Comics; $9.99
Who is super-strong, can fly, wears red boots and a red cape, and has a big red “S” on his chest? Okay yes, sure, but who else? Because the super-strong, flying guy wearing red boots, a red cape, and a big red “S” on his chest in cartoonist Drew Brockington’s Metropolis Grove isn’t Superman, but he is close enough to cause some confusion among neighborhood kids Sonia, Duncan, and Alex.
The trio are playing in the woods behind their development when they stumble upon a mysterious structure built out of boulders. The clues inside seem to point to it belonging to Superman, or at least a rather…bizarre version of Superman, and the kids are split on just what it all means.
Sonia, who just moved to town from Metropolis, is pretty sure they’ve stumbled upon Superman’s secret hideout. Duncan, who has lived his whole life in suburban Metropolis Grove, doesn’t even believe Superman is a real person, but thinks he is rather just a clever marketing device invented to attract tourism to the big city.
It turns out, they’re both right; the hideout doesn’t belong to Superman, but it does belong to Bizarro, the monster-like “backwards” version of Superman. (And if Bizarro is real, well, it stands to reason Superman is too.)
It’s Sonia, who is intent on proving that Superman is real, who discovers Bizarro, and she secretly befriends him, smuggling him snacks and helping “train” him to be a better, less backwards superhero. Duncan and Alex, who only get a glimpse of him, mistake him for Superman himself, and Sonia is reluctant to tell them the truth, as they finally believe her that Superman is real.
When the secret that “Superman” lives in the woods of Metropolis Grove finally gets out, however, things spiral out of control, and ultimately the whole school floods the woods looking for Superman, only to discover the other big guy with an “S” on his chest.
Bizarro is one of the more inspired characters in Superman’s expanded cast, and Brockington makes great use of him here, playing him as a simultaneously sad and funny character, imbuing him with elements of Bigfoot, Santa Claus, and Frankenstein’s monster in different scenes.
Although Bizarro is the DC Comics character that appears in the book, he’s not really the star of the book; Sonia is, and Brockington’s comic is about her relationship with her friends Duncan and Alex, and how mistrust and secrets challenge that relationship.
Don’t worry, everything works out okay for everyone in the end, and though Sonia’s various new friendships are all tested, they survive, and there’s even the promise, or at least the potential, for more to come. More would certainly be welcome. The book is a delightful one, and a nice reminder that adventures can happen anywhere.
About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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