Written by Jay Faerber
Art by Mahmud A. Asrar
Collects Dynamo 5 #1-7
Dynamo 5 is a creator owned superhero title from Jay Faerber and Mahmud A. Asrar. It is a twist on the idea of the superhero family with all of the members of the Dynamo 5 team being the illegitimate children of Captain Dynamo, a Superman stand in for Faerber's book with a slightly tweaked set of powers. They are led by Captain Dynamo's widow, Madeline "Maddie" Warner.
The story starts off with the less than dignified death of Captain Dynamo, who was poisoned while having an affair. Maddie, a retired investigative reporter, finds out out about the numerous affairs that Captain Dynamo had and how he may have had five children with different women throughout the years. Each of the five children she recruits ended up gaining one of the five powers he had. The members of Dynamo 5, and their powers, are:
- Visionary (Hector Chang) - Various vision based powers including laser and x-ray vision
- Scrap (Bridget Flynn) - Super strength and limited invulnerability
- Myriad (Spencer Bridges) - Shape shifting
- Scatterbrain (Gage Reinhart) - Telepathy
- Slingshot (Olivia Lewis) - Flight
Obviously, the book deals with the teams formation, but Faerber gets that out of the way in the first issue and uses the rest of the trade to focus on the team dynamic, both as a group and with the wider world. Since Captain Dynamo is dead and Dynamo 5 is replacing him defending Tower City, it's obvious they have to deal with his former allies and enemies. In addition to focusing on how Dynamo 5 deals with being new heroes, Faerber also uses the middle chapters of the trade to introduce some other players of the title. These are typically minor characters that have a previous history with Captain Dynamo.
As mentioned above, the middle of the story is about how the main characters deal with their new found powers, lives and knowledge of their father and heritage. The point is how they deal with the family aspect of it all, both with their original families and their newly formed one with each other. Each character deals with it differently and Faerber uses their new found powers and knowledge to add some tension to the story.
The last part of the book is a three parter that deals with the return of Captain Dynamo or, at least, someone that is imitating him. Faerber uses it to nicely wrap up a couple of things that he was working on in the earlier parts of the book while getting some nice surprises out of it. By the end of the book, Faerber has firmly established the core concept of the book and a lot of the characters and team dynamics.
Normally, I'm generally suspicious towards creator owned superhero books for two main reasons - 1) usually they are obvious rip offs of Marvel and DC concepts or 2) they are just down right horrible, in either concept or execution, typically pushing things to extremes in an attempt to differentiate themselves. Dynamo 5 does, in fact, borrow some concepts from Marvel/DC territory and, like I said, normally, I would hold this against Dynamo 5. But I didn't for two more reasons. 1) These connections to Marvel and DC are a peripheral part of the story and 2) the rest of the story is so good that it simply does not matter. While there are groups like The Veil (a Hydra/Cobra-like organization) and F.L.A.G. (a S.H.I.E.L.D. stand in), plus Captain Dynamo (Superman), they are not the main focus of the book.
Another factor is that Dynamo 5 is a superhero/family book of which there are very few put out by Marvel or DC. You could argue that either Fantastic Four or Justice Society of America cover similar territory, but they are skewed more towards the superhero aspect while Faerber does a better job of balancing the two.
As for the art, Asrar has something like an all purpose, generic superhero style. That may not sound like praise, but I do like his art. He does know how to tell a story, which is important given the type of book Dynamo 5 is. His action scenes also work well and there are some energetic scenes in there plus some nice, superhero styled splash pages every now and then. He is also good with facial expressions, which, again, really help with the kind of story Faerber is telling. He may not be the flashiest artist around, but his work is a perfect fit for the book and gets the job done.
Verdict - Must Read. Dynamo 5, while covering some familiar territory, is a wonderful book that takes on a life of its own and provides some nice contrast to Marvel and DC on how to do a superhero book.
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