Spandex Issue 4 – O.M.F.G.

Published On May 25, 2011 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Reviews

Spandex Issue 4: O.M.F.G Part One – True Colours

By Martin Eden

Spandex is Martin Eden’s multi-coloured superhero series set in Brighton. With the previous three issues (reviews #1, 2, and 3) the quality has been building and building with each issue.

Issues 1 and 2 introduced the various characters in this all-gay superteam soap opera, concentrating equally on the superheroing and the complicated personal lives of those involved, to really good effect. But with issue 3 the tone changed, quite magnificently, suddenly it got very serious, and the raw emotions uncovered turned Spandex into something far deeper and darker than we were perhaps expecting.

With three issues under his belt Eden could so easily have taken his eye off the ball. But if anything, the plotting, character and pacing of issue 4 is the best of the lot. It’s so tight, so intense, there’s practically nothing I can tell you about the plot here without giving away something important, there’s so much going on – and all of it’s important, all of it’s shocking.

It’s called O.M.F.G. for lots of very valid reasons. Eden pretty much gets the feel of the comic over right here in this promo ad:

And it does, it really does turn everything on its head, in a series of perfectly set up shocks – by the end of the issue it’s all change, and unlike countless superhero titles from Marvel and DC, here in Spandex, it’s change with a permanence to it. That’s what makes the O.M.F.G. moments work – you’ll find yourself at the end of the book practically breathless and desperate to see where it’s all going.

(“Have we met somewhere before?” – oh yes, you have… page 1 of Spandex issue 4, just before it all starts to go wrong. From Martin Eden’s Spandex)

Here’s what little of the plot I can safely give you – the Spandex team come under a sustained and targeted attack this issue by “Les Girlz”, who systematically take the team down. The ease with which they do this, combined with the absolute ruthlessness and brutality is surprising. But the manner in which Eden sets everything up is absolutely perfect, a practical masterclass in how to deliver a concise, tight and clinical thriller.

(“Hm.” – love that moment, as Pussy, leader of Les Girlz, infiltrates Prowler’s apartment in Martin Eden’s Spandex #4)

And alongside the decimation of the team comes a series of equally stunning personal revelations – again, the soap opera aspects of Spandex sit so comfortably amongst the superhero thriller. And that’s why it’s so very good, reminiscent of the best superhero work of early Spider-Man or classic Claremont X-Men, where it was the relationships of the people under the costumes that appealed just as much as (and often more than) the big fights.

Spandex started out as the “gay super-book”, and although Eden enjoyed the publicity of that, it’s something he’s steering the book away from. Not in content, but in tone – the sexual escapades are just part of these characters lives, not the be all and end all. So, whilst we do see the characters cruise the gay bars of Brighton (and spot a few familiar, and trademarked, characters in the background moonlighting from their own comics and giving us a smile) it’s just part of their character, not the entirety of it.

(Whilst most of issue 4 is tight, pacey thriller, there’s still time for a little comedy to shift the mood – from Spandex #4 by Martin Eden)

Eden’s art is just great, and his glorious use of colour, always considered, always effective, is a big part of our enjoyment. Just the three examples on this review should be enough to show you what I mean – the characters all have their own colour schemes, carefully controlled by Eden, and when necessary he’s more than happy to dazzle us with a nice bit of technicolour as with Glitter and new member Neon hitting the bars in the page above. Lovely.

Eden’s continued development of his characters and his story is really giving us a great soap opera superhero saga, perfectly plotted, brilliantly paced. Issue 5 really can’t come along soon enough.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

13 Responses to Spandex Issue 4 – O.M.F.G.

  1. Paul Shinn says:

    I picked up the first 3 issues of this comic after reading your review of #3 and was not disappointed, and after picking this latest issue up last week I was blown away. It really is a fantastically paced comic, and never has a title been so apt – O.M.F.G. indeed! There’s so many things which happen, but I don’t want to give ANYTHING away.

    Like you said, I’m glad to see that the fact these characters are gay is not the whole raison d’etre for this book. It’s not a gay superhero book, it’s a superhero book with characters who are gay.

    Oh, and just out of curiosity, what was the spelling mistake on the promo ad? I’ve read and re-read it and couldn’t see it, although I’ll no doubt kick myself when it’s pointed out to me…

  2. Andypants says:

    Actually, “its” is the possessive, used correctly in the ad above. “It’s” is short for “it is”, which wouldn’t make sense – “Everything will be turned on it is head”.

    Awkward…

    • Richard says:

      I blame my education – I was the generation who those in charge decided didn’t need any of that grammar stuff. Changed now – cheers.

  3. Andypants says:

    np, although you forgot to erase the “kicking himself for the hideous spelling mistake” bit :)

    • Richard says:

      Arrrggggghhhh – maybe I was tired, maybe too many G&Ts. The “kicking himself for the hideous spelling mistake” bit was actually a reference to something else on the earlier version of the trailer ad – something Martin corrected with a better copy. I do so love these comments we get….

      World: Richard – you’re an idiot.
      Richard: Thanks world.

      Yep, that’s about it!

  4. Shug says:

    You had me and a guy from work scrutinising this for ages!

    Great advert for Martin, though! It’s burned into my eyes!

  5. Matt Badham says:

    Spandex is amazing. Must grab this latest issue.

    (You’re not an idiot, Richard.

    But if you feel the need to improve your grammar, punctuation and general writing skills, this is worth investing in: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Elements-Style-William-Strunk-Jr/dp/0321248619/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1306394068&sr=8-3)