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Comic Review: Jackpot #1 by Marc Guggenheim, Adriana Melo, and Mariah Benes

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Jackpot is evidently the newest super heroine out of the Marvel Comics stable, and underwritten by Spider-Man himself. I was instantly drawn to the cover by Dave Yardin because of the colors and the fact that Jackpot was evidently female, as evidenced by the skintight bodysuit. Also, the notification that this was issue one of three was encouraging too. I’ve gotten to where I love graphic novels because of the layered storytelling, but can’t stand waiting month to month for a story to unfold. A dichotomy, I know, and a tough one.

Spider-Man’s presence in the first issue is limited to a Jiminy Cricket role. He pounds on Sara Erhet for getting a second Jackpot killed when her mutant growth hormone failed her. I felt like I’d just walked into the middle of a movie, never a good place to be in an “origin” issue of a comic series. But I continued because the art was fantastic. (Just look at this eye-popping first page! Did anyone notice her belt buckle reads 777?)

The story quickly develops a familiar feel to those of us who’ve been reading comics for a while now: Teaser action in media res, then flashback to how the heroine got to this point. It was okay, and the backstory was kind of interesting. The way she looks like Mary Jane Watson with the red wig was the catalyst for Spider-Man’s initial interest, and I’m wondering if any Spidey readers felt cheated when that reveal came out.

What I did have a problem with is how Spider-Man guilts Sara to be a hero, knowing she’s the mother of a three year old daughter. Somehow the whole “with great responsibility comes great power” speech just doesn’t ring true in the face of that. I do like the fact that Sara is going to have to juggle her career as a superhero with that of a mom and wife.

Another thing that I really enjoyed was the fact that the husband is in on the whole secret identity. I liked the relationship they have, and I’ll be interested to see how much that’s risked during the course of this three-issue arc.

Adriana Melo’s pencils (she’s new to me, though I’m going to be keeping an eye on her) backed by Mariah Benes’s inks are a pure delight. The breakdown panels of all the action is eye-catching and tense. Melo and Benes just really bring the action, and I hope there’s more in store because a lot of the scenes in this issue tended to be static. Of course, readers had to be brought up to date.

The twist at the end where Sara screws up and leaves behind a fingerprint was well done, and now that I’ve met her family, I’m really wondering how this arc is going to play out. The Rose (main bad guy) looks kind of goofy but reminds me a lot of Kingpin, so we’ll see.

In the meantime, this issue was a solid effort and I’m pleasantly intrigued. The promise of a two-month wait to get the full story is fine, and the characters stand out enough to make me care.

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