A review of Arcana Press's All Fall Down OGN
Credits & Solicit Info:
13 year old Sophie Mitchell just stole every superpower known to man. She can't turn them off or give them back. Ever. As she becomes Siphon, the world's last superhero, the people she stole her powers from learn to live without them-- or die trying.
The depowering of superheroes is a common trope in comic book literature. Very few heroes have been spared from a temporary depowering, but rarely do the effects last. After all, what kind of story could be told if superheroes had been permanently depowered? Arcana Studio explores how superheroes (and supervillains) would deal with a permanent loss of power in Casey Jones' debut OGN All Fall Down.
All Fall Down focuses on thirteen-year-old Sophie Mitchell, who unknowingly steals the powers of every superhero and -villain on the planet. As the world's superheroes struggle with the aftermath of their depowering, Sophie is made a ward of the U.S. Government and becomes Siphon, the world's last superhero. However not everyone is thrilled when Siphon goes public, and several former superheroes become wrapped up in a plot to take down Siphon with the hopes of restoring all the formerly-powered denizens of the world.
The strongest part of All Fall Down is the pacing and structure of the story. The book is divided into seven chapters, each one thematically linked to one of the seven stages of grief. Jones builds his world organically, choosing to introduce the cast of the OGN as they're being depowered and focusing on how they cope with their losses. It's a smart choice that humanizes otherwise generic heroes and creates several powerful character moments in the book. While the plot takes several predictable turns and the dialogue is occasionally clunky, Jones still keeps readers ensnared with firm characterization that prevents the book from becoming dull.
The real drawback to All Fall Down is the art, which is split between seven different artists. Because of the variety of artists involved, All Fall Down never really picks up a singular artistic tone or feel. It's evident by the liberal use of shadowing that much (if not all) of the coloring was done with some sort of Photoshop-esque software. The colorist overused the shadowing to try to give the pencils some sort of texture and depth to the artwork, making it come across as amateurish. However, the artwork is never so bad that it hinders a reader's ability to read the series.
All in all, All Fall Down is a solid debut for Casey Jones and an enjoyable read. Those who invested in the Kickstarter Campaign to finance this book will not be disappointed by the final product. While the price point is a little high, $19.99 for a 148-page OGN is still a better bargain than many other graphic novels and I was able to find it discounted on at least one major comic book reseller. If you're interested in supporting a small press superhero comic that doesn't shy away from telling a story found rarely in comics, hunt down a copy of All Fall Down.
Review by: BlueStreak