Shades of Blue #1–3
[Amp Comics $2.50 US B&W]
Written by James S. Harris & Rachel Nacion / Illustrated by Greg Grucel (1,2) & Cal Slayton (3)
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Shades of Blue #1Meet Heidi. She has a mom and a dad, best friends and she’s one of the faceless masses at her suburban high school. She also has blue hair and electrical powers. Both of these powers manifested after a day spent the Harrington Mall but Heidi has no memory of what exactly happened there.

After hearing a news report about a maniac attacking people at the High School dance, Heidi’s best friend, K.T., calls her from the dance and convinces her to use her powers to “come down here, yada yada, save the school.” K.T. also suggests Heidi (or Blue as she’s now calling her) cobble together a costume so she can do the super-hero thing and not be recognized.

All of this is handled in as realistic way as possible for a super-hero story. Heidi and K.T. speak like regular teenage girls. They’ve got all the problems and worry that come with the territory. Heidi even has the typical crush on the popular boy in school, Jack. Heidi is idolized by her next door neighbor, Marcus. The only interest she has in Marcus is as a chauffer—he ends up being privy to the Blue super-hero identity because he has his own car.

The story in these first three issues does a great job of introducing the reader to Heidi/Blue, her friends and her life. It also sets up some nice future plot lines with the villains Heidi meets. For some reason Heidi is not being the only person in Harrington who has received weird powers. In fact, the person terrorizing the school dance can transform his body into crystal and looks an awful lot like Jack, the object of her unrequited affection. Issue three introduces the new substitute teacher at school, Miss White, whose alter ego can control sound. Whether she’ll be a friend or foe of Blue will be left for future issues.

Greg Grucel did the artwork in the first two issues. His character designs are spot-on. I especially liked Blue’s thrown together costume. He’s not as strong on backgrounds and sometimes his figures can appear to be a little stiff but he handles telling the story just fine. You’ve also got to love an artist who puts Cibbo Matto and Bjork posters on the walls of Heidi’s room.

The new artist for the series, Cal Slayton, takes over with issue three and he brings a real Archie Comics feel to the characters. The basic character designs haven’t changed so drastically that you have to learn who everyone is all over again though. Slayton is more adept at putting background details in his panels than Grucel and it seemed like I got more story with his layouts.

Shades of Blue is shaping up to be a fun new series. I like the characters and the writers have done a good job of keeping me entertained and involved in the storyline. If you like super-hero comics in the vein of Sidekicks and Electric Girl, give Shades of Blue a try.

Can’t find this at your local comic shop? Write to Amp Comics, 335 North Seymour Avenue, Mundelein, IL 60060 or visit their web site at www.ampcomics.com.