Published August 4th 2015 by InkLit (first published July 7th 2015)
Format read: ARC via publisher
As Champion, the crimson guardian of his hometown Urbana Falls, Michael Midas battles vengeful samurai, wicked sorcerers and evil creatures, earning the gratitude of the people he saves—and the heart of Dani, the woman he loves.
But being a superhero doesn’t pay the bills. All of Michael’s super-strength and stamina is defenseless against the daily trials and tribulations of making ends meet. Beneath his colorful costume, he’s another struggling blue collar worker, full of lingering self-doubt about his role as Champion.
Then Michael’s super and civilian identities collide when he’s confronted by Truck, his grade school bully and romantic rival. His long-time nemesis has evolved into an endlessly adaptable, monstrous supervillain, determined to destroy the world—and he’s got the power to do it.
Torn between fulfilling conflicting responsibilities to his family and to mankind, can Michael Midas Champion find the power to fix the problems of his past and save the world?
Jordan Gorfinkel and Scott Benefiel introduce us to a young boy, who is learning about a superhero origin's story, via his grandmother. The young boy is upset with his father, but can't help but be drawn into a story about a young bullied boy named Michael, who faces off with a all-star athlete for a young girl's attentions.
The story eventually charts Michael's rise into a renowned superhero. But along the way, Michael begins to learn that it's not always easy to balance both superhero responsibilities and real-life responsiblities, and it's up to him to figure out how to be Champion and Michael... especially when an old rival comes back into his life.
I wasn't really sure what to expect when I started reading Michael Midas: Champion, and was pleasantly surprised to get an origin story, wrapped up within another story. Jordan and Scott do a nice job of setting up Michael's transition from builled child into resident superhero, and how this is charmingly and thoughtful relayed, by an unnamed (though easily-guessed) grandmother and grandson.
However, what I liked the most, was Jordan and Scott's focus on creating a believable relationship between Michael and soon-to-be wife Dani. We see both the romanticism of their relationship, including a stunning underwater date scene that will undoubtedly look beautiful in color, but the definite frustrations that come with dating someone who needs to keep his identity secret.
It's a reminder that as romantic as it may seem to be a hero - just think of the upside down kiss in Spiderman 2, it's also a dangerous, challenging ride for those who are on the opposite of the mask.
(However, I should add: I was a little confused by Michael and Dani's relationship. So Dani went on several dates with a person, without actually knowing his name...? What did they talk about?)
While the graphic novel follows a slightly typical route of having Michael confront an old and expected foe, Scott and Jordan's drawings and snappy narration from the first page to the last, make Michael (and by proxy, Dani's) tale, one that is worth visiting. I'm curious to see where the book goes, and I'm curious to see how the young boy's story evolves as well.
So while I haven't really read too many graphic novels before, Michael Midas: Champion was a nice introduction. I'm looking forward to reading more in the future!
About the authors:
Scott Benefiel has been a comic book artist for more than twenty years, working on such titles as Superman, Hellboy, The Incredible Hulk, The Justice League of America, Witchblade, WildC.A.T.S., Tomb Raider, JSA, GEN-13, Silver Surfer, and many more. He is also a story board artist, video game conceptual artist, and actor.