SPANDEX # 7
Written, Illustrated and Published by: Martin Eden
Reviewed by: Kristian Horn
It really sucks when a comic you love comes to an end and I have loved Spandex ever since I laid eyes on it. As proof of my adoration of Spandex you can click here and see my review for the initial trade collection of the world’s first all gay superhero team comic book. Heck, I was so impressed by Spandex that I begged Titan Books to let me interview the creator of Spandex for both the Part-Time Fanboy Podcast and Ain’t It Cool News. As a matter of fact, that quote that’s on the cover of this issue of Spandex attributed to Ain’t It Cool News…yeah, that’s me.
So, yeah, I love me some Spandex. From the beginning, this comic book detailing the adventures of the first all homosexual superhero team has impressed me. Not because it’s what some people might think of as controversial (although I do give Eden credit for coming up with a great gimmick for his book) but because every page of Spandex just oozes with pure love for the superhero genre. Spandex was and is a comic that certainly has its serious moments filled with pathos but at its heart it embraces a quality that so many superhero comics have lost. That quality is fun. Creator Martin Eden remembers a time when superhero comics embraced their soap opera roots with open arms and thrilled in the adventure of a world where people could leap tall buildings in a single bound and bend steel in their bare hands. Eden’s superheroes are from a bygone era when superheroing could be dangerous but reading about that danger could still be pleasurable. Sure, Spandex has its fair share of tragedies but the tragedy never overshadows the characters or the exciting activity at its core. While many may focus on the fact that Spandex is full of a cast of all gay characters what I experienced while reading issues of Spandex was a type of superhero story that just doesn’t really exist all that much anymore, a type of superhero story that I’ve missed.
After my interview with Mr. Eden he was kind enough to send me issues four through six of Spandex. These were the comics that immediately followed the events of the aforementioned Spandex trade collection. As soon as I got them I devoured them and found that while they were certainly a bit darker in tone than what was in the collected book, I was still digging on the exploits of Martin Eden’s multi-colored superhero team. Issue four saw the advent of Martin’s O.M.F.G. storyline which was intended to wrap up the Spandex saga. During O.M.F.G. Spandex saw themselves infiltrated by a nefarious super-villainess group called Lez Girls. For the next few issues the Spandex roster of heroes would have themselves systematically torn apart by the invading bad girl team and by the time the comic got to the end of issue six readers were left with a cliffhanger that really was a doozy.
In all honesty, I thought that Eden had painted himself into a corner with that ending. I loved the audacity of it but I remember thinking to myself that after the revelation at the end of issue six that whatever Eden had up his sleeve had better be good. Well, it turns out that it was good…even if it went in a direction that I wasn’t completely expecting.
Without wanting to spoil too much, at the end of the sixth issue there is a mind-blowing revelation about one of the main characters in the group. This is a revelation that, handled in any other superhero book, could have led to just an absolutely overly bombastic or awkward payoff. But Martin Eden zigs instead of zagging and gives Spandex an ending that seems bittersweet and satisfying. Don’t get me wrong, this issue has enough drama and plot twists to fill an old Chris Claremont X-Men comic, but Martin avoids the oh-so-typical temptation to make everything in this final issue bleed with sorrow. There’s an optimism to the final issue of Spandex and it leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction after you’ve finished the final pages of issue seven.
While I know this isn’t the absolute last outing for Spandex (Eden has announced that there will be a Spandex special sometime next year) I’ll be sorry to see the book go. If anything I just hope to see more of Martin Eden’s work in the future. If I ran a publishing company I’d just give Eden his own line of superhero books to play with. His enthusiasm for the genre is plainly evident on every page of Spandex and if there was ever a talent worth of wider recognition it would be him. If you are a fan of superhero books be sure to pick this series up.