“Strong Female Protagonist” Shows the Downside of a World Full of Superheroes
Alison Green is a superhero. Or rather, she used to be, until a fate-changing confrontation with her arch-nemesis led her to question everything she believed in and reveal her secret identity on national television. Now technically retired, all Alison wants is to live as a normal college student. But that’s a high order when you’re impervious to all harm, can punch your way through a building, and are instantly recognizable as one of the most dangerous people on the planet.
Strong Female Protagonist, by writer Brennan Lee Mulligan and artist Molly Ostertag, presents us with a world where superheroes not only exist but are also not over the age of 21. The presence of these remarkable children has drastically changed the way countries, government, and society function, and the result is an entire generation of adolescents with the desire to save the world, or the urge to break it. But what happens when you want to make a lasting change, one that’s stronger than even men of steel? That is the question Alison struggles with as she tries to step away from her violent past and take a stand against the injustices that plague her world.
This comic does not pull its punches, displaying with frightening clarity the dangers and complexities of a world with superheroes. Mulligan delivers thorough and deeply thoughtful world-building, while Ostertag’s illustrations combine knock-down, drag-out action with moments of unreserved and sometimes shocking emotion. At just five chapters long, Strong Female Protagonist has already cemented itself as an intelligent and addicting comic that will leave you reassessing your relationship not only with superhero narratives, but also with the markedly human injustices that we both battle and perpetuate.
While it is unfortunately too late to support the comic’s Kickstarter (which raised almost 7 times its initial goal), you can still enjoy its first volume when it premieres at this year’s Small Press Expo.