I’ve been tooting my horn about Aftershock Comics for some time now, yet here we go again. The publisher perpetuates its hot-streak with their newest book, Alters. Before we get into whether you should buy this book, let’s get the reason for some of its buzz out of the way: the main character is transgender. Is it important? Yes. Will it show many people out there a side of being transgender that they might not have been able to experience before? Absolutely.
Alters #1 is great because it’s going to bring new complexities to the industry. Learning about a transgender person’s life is in itself a great story, because it’s something new and different that most of us have no clue about. But Alters is not just slapping on the transgender tag to draw attention, it’s showing us that transgender people, like all people, are the same inside. All of us, despite our race, ethnicity, gender identity, or even political views, are all human beings with feelings, weaknesses, thoughts, and dreams. The most important thing this book could do, besides entertain you, is show transgender people are like everyone else.
It appears Alters will be another coming-of-age kind of story. Don’t groan. These stories are immensely valuable and resonate with many people. The reason the original Spider-Man series was so impactful was because it connected with readers on so many levels. Alters has the ability to do that very same thing, all while exploring a dynamic that is now front and center in our world.
I also love the fact that this is a superhero story because superheroes and stories of adolescence go hand in hand. Superheroes, at their core, wrestle with the questions of what’s good and evil, right and wrong, and how we as human beings might be so much more than what we give ourselves credit for. “With great power comes great responsibility.” We will have to wait and see if this is the road that writer Paul Jenkins intends to take the series down, and I hope he does.
It will take some time to see how the book plays out but, judging from the premiere issue, all the pieces are in place. There are bad guys, good guys, and great art by Leila Leiz. There is an interesting set of circumstances that brings it all into play, as certain rare people have an alteration that makes them unique, granting them superpowers. So, with everything lined up, it should make for an engaging ride. Alters has the potential to be something more than just your average superhero story, which I’m always a fan of, so let’s hope it follows through after a compelling debut.