Vigilance by indie creator Michael Watson and published by Legacy Rising Publications is the first book in a series of a story about an extraterrestrial woman, who appears to be black, who lands on Earth with incredible superpowers, and equally impressive hair and begins working for a type of Western government security organization called the EHD (The Extra Human Division). A SHIELD-like entity tasked with keeping the world safe from everything from terrorist organizations to alien threats.
Age: Unknown. Extraterrestrial with powers of superhuman strength, healing ability, flight, invulnerability and super speed.
Age 35. Superhuman with powers of flight and possible super strength.
Age 47. Human. In opposition to all powered individuals.
Age 28 (First Appearance “Hotshot Vol 1″ ) Origin unknown.
Vigilance appears to be telling her story in flashbacks to a psychologist in the beginning of the comic, which is a flashback to when she crash lands on Earth and is rescued by another black superhero known only as Justice. She has been injured in the crash and although she speaks no English trusts him enough to get her to safety and bring her to what appears to beEHD headquarters where she is nursed back to health. We can only assume that Vigilance is the name given to her by this same organization, being that English clearly is not her first language. Justice convinces her to work for the EHD and she then goes through training (part of which must be learning English which she now speaks fluently), before she is sent out on assignments saving humans from terrorist threats around the world. She easily saves military personnel from bombs, diffuses hostage situations, animals from floods and even detonates bombs manually. Apparently using her flight/speed capabilities to avoid harm.
Of course not everyone is a fan. Senator Stout is shown in an interview questioning Vigilance’s sudden appearance, origins, powers and loyalty. With shades of Marvel’s Civil War and the Mutant Registration Act he warns that Vigilance and her “group of paramilitary freak shows” might be there to lull the world into a false sense of security before they take over.
Vigilance seems unaware of any resistance or enemies until Harbinger (an alien monster that looks like a HULK and Abomination love child) shows up followed by Vigilance’s first real enemy, Lady Thundersaw.
What I think
The line work in this book by Val Nogueira looks good, although facial features get a little inconsistent in profile, I like her distinct style. (The cover seems to be more focused on her ass than her abilities, but I’m going to guess that was on purpose). Veronica Smith’s color work is excellent, and the use of light and shading along with the simple palette really work for the book. I was also very happy to see two female artists working on this project.
Unfortunately, the writing is the weakest part of this comic. Vigilance says many profound things… but for no apparent reason. According to Watson, the book has been through a couple of creative teams and the first 15 pages were re-written. Which I find interesting, because that section to me is the most problematic. I really could have used 2 less examples of her saving the world, and 5 more pages at the beginning explaining how she got here. I understand not wanting to reveal a character’s entire origin story in the first issue, but Vigilance’s recovery, training, decision to join the EHD, heck even her name, are only covered in a few panels through exposition, but in my opinion, that really should have been fleshed out in several pages. Instead, we are given page after page of her saving humans from themselves and are perfunctorily told by Vigilance herself, that this her “true purpose”. It makes the character seem 2 dimensional at best and rather dull at worst.
Where is the conflict here? What is her weakness? Did the crash cause her to have amnesia? Is that why she’s talking to a shrink? What did Justice say to make her help humans? What was her “training” like? (Because clearly she doesn’t need our help). Who is her “group” that Sen. Stout was referring to? Answers to some of these questions would have helped shaped Vigilance’s character better. Without them, the comic literally is just showing a black woman running around saving a bunch of people, (mostly white) for no other reason than “It’s the right thing to do.”
Vigilance is clearly an incredibly powerful superhero with incredible strength, power, speed and agility and apparently feels responsible for humanity. What I don’t understand is WHY.
Vigilance is an all-ages comic that kids will enjoy because of the beautiful colors and artwork, and action, but the weak storyline clearly has a Superman problem, which is why I cannot give this one very high marks.
TBG Review Rating*
Writer: Micah Cox
Artist: Val Nogueira
Colorist: Veronica Smith
Lead Editor: Erik McAlister
Editor: Luke Herr
Publisher: Legacy Rising
32p, color, digital
*Rating System: A rating of 1= poor writing/storyline and poor artwork/lettering while a rating of 10= Excellent writing/storyline and High-quality artwork/lettering