By Will Barber – Taylor
Somewhere in suburban L.A., a freak cosmic event suddenly enables nine-year-old Lakers nut, Roger Beaman to have the ability to fly… but only for about a foot and a half off the ground.
In the old days when those things happened the newly empowered could slink off to arctic fortresses, bat caves or newsroom closets and be “heroic” when and how they chose, or not at all – well not anymore! On his maiden flight, Roger is stopped by authorities, removed from his home and forced to play side-kick to an actual super-hero who really doesn’t seem to want him around. Can things get any worse? Oh yes. Oh yes they can.
It has been a while since we’ve covered The Actual Roger series, produced by Hank Tucker for Alterna. In fact the last time I reviewed an instalment of the series was over a year ago. However, for the characters themselves no time has passed at all. The story picks up from the cliff-hanger of the third issue. After Magnanimo is cast into space and his former sidekick Andreas escapes, Roger does the only thing any self-respecting sidekick should do; he runs home to his parents. As Roger attempts to get home he is dogged by his old friend, Clay and the entire secret service, attempting to get Magnanimo’s collar back to him.
Tucker’s return to the world of The Actual Roger is a satisfying end to the long gap between issues. Over the 42 pages of the issue, Tucker weaves a creative new chapter to The Actual Roger saga. While advancing the main plot, Tucker simultaneously reveals Magnanimo’s origin and introduces a new threat – the groovy Doctor Spector. Yet, the juggling of these various strands does not detract from the overall storytelling which is certainly witty. Both Spector’s interaction with Roger’s trapped parents and Magnanimo’s recounting of his origin are highlights of the issue.
The artwork is equally wonderful and zany; Tucker brings an Austin Powers feel to Doctor Spector’s appearance which is both cartoonish and realistic. Tucker’s style travels along the thin line between cartoon and realistic artwork which helps make the overall comic particularly special.
The most recent issue of The Actual Roger is certainly a return to form for Tucker and his creations. Hopefully it won’t be so long until the next issue dazzles our eyes.