Collpaser graphic novel review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: DC/Young Animal - ‎ 978-1-4012-9581-3
  • Release date: 2020
  • UPC: 9781401295813
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

By day Liam James works in a nursing home carrying out all the demeaning and unpleasant, but necessary tasks that requires. At night at least he can express himself via DJ sets. That’s before he suddenly develops a black hole in his stomach and starts seeing things no-one else can.

What at first seems to be no more than a wild and wacky journey on the part of writers Mikey Way and Shaun Simon is given some grounding in the third chapter when Liam’s genetic heritage is clarified. That’s also a wild and wacky journey, but at least explains who he really is and what he’s capable of. What he becomes is a very self-centred superhero, transformed from the well-meaning but frustrated guy he’d been into an opportunist who takes every possibility fame offers without considering the bigger picture. It’s an updated version of Grant Morrison’s Zenith in this respect.

Collapser benefits considerably from the imaginatively detailed art supplied by Ilias Kyriasis, suited to both the absurd and more real aspects, and gleefully sinking giant eyeballs in collapsing buildings. He fills the pages with people and objects, comes up with a neat effect for Liam’s black hole manifestations and ensures we can tell one character from another. Ultimately, though, it’s the weird you’ll remember, and Kyriasis does weird well.

However that’s just one part of the plot, and from a viable starting point Way and Simon lose their path early. Everything is rolled out at a frenetic pace, and too much seems to happen just because the writers think visually and know it will look good. It’s a coming of age story with the fate of the world at stake, but Way and Simon never step away from the weirdness long enough to really make us care about Liam or anyone else. It leaves Collapser as a glossy treat to skim through, but a missed opportunity otherwise.