So, the Viltrumite war is over, with none of those rat bastards currently in evidence. All the bloody carnage and apocalypse scenarios and incredible cost of human life and damage to Mark’s body are healed or being repaired, and despite all that excitement, the book is even better for it.
You wouldn’t think Mark’s down time would be as interesting as the biggest problems he’s ever coped with, but Kirkman surprises here. Back in the “real world” of Earth, Mark still has a plethora of situations with which to deal. There’s the fact that Las Vegas just disappeared, in some sort of non-radioactive explosion. There’s the difficulty he and Eve (her powers are in a way even more impressive than his, as she’s a matter manipulator to his indestructibility) are having a hard time getting their superhero business off the ground.
And there’s the larger question of how all his power keeps causing so much damage even in his most important victories. That’s a lot, and Kirkman makes sure we get to see Mark deal with (or realize, or ponder, or worry about) all of it. Eve witnesses his struggles, too, but seems to see her role more as a support system for him, fighting his doubts and of course fighting at his side on the battlefield.
The real core issue Kirkman is taking on here is whether shiny spandex is the way to go about battling the evils of the world. We’ve all read numerous comics with different answers to that question: The Boys, The Authority, the later issues of Miracleman, the Order, even the Initiative. But in each of those tales, the new supposedly improved structure was imposed from above. This is a rare case where we’re seeing one hero, on grass roots level, try to face the big issues nearly all by himself. The most fun aspect of this book is the sense that, even eighty issues in, Kirkman still has a lot left to say with these characters.