JADED By Jon Santana, Jimbo Salgado, Jomar Bulda, and Bunny Pasig
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
The superhero trope has always been framed as good vs. evil. But JADED by Jon Santana, Jimbo Salgado, Jomar Bulda, and Bunny Pasig plays with this overdone trope. Although some parts of the story get a little confusing because time jumps around, the overall story is compelling and interesting to follow. Paired with amazing art, this is a comic you won't want to miss.
85 %
Super Story, Super Art
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The superheroes we have today oftentimes feel overdone. We all know how Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, and the X-Men came into being, we’ve seen their origins at least 100 times each by now. JADED, created and written by Jon Santana, gives us a fresh and different perspective on heroes. This sponsored review will look at how JADED #1-5 has created a new type of superhero. One that we have all need but don’t even realize we need.

JADED begins with the introduction of Adam Sovereign, one of the comic’s main heroes. While trying to stop a man from committing suicide, Sovereign loses some of his powers. When he fails to save this man, Sovereign’s mental state changes and he becomes a threat to the world. With Sovereign being a threat, now would be a good time for the other superheroes to rise up. Unfortunately, most of them are in prison.

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Initial Thoughts on JADED

The story follows five different heroes as they navigate their way through a world that has exiled them. Although one hero remains part of the military, the rest have become prisoners because of their unpredictable powers.

We get to see what lead each character to their imprisonment. It’s here that the story really takes hold because the actions these heroes took, while they could be seen as flawed, are decisions that you or I could have made in a similar situation. This makes these heroes and characters more believable than the recent superhero ‘difficult decision’ tropes.

There were times when the plot was a little difficult to follow. There were a lot of time jumps per issue. This made me struggle with trying to align certain aspects of the story. However, this didn’t distract me from enjoying the overall story. In fact, it gave me a reason to re-read a couple of issues in case I missed a piece of the stories puzzle.

And that’s what kept me hooked into JADED. I love mysteries and puzzles and JADED offered me a new puzzle to solve. Santana kept me gripped by creating a real human story which also had me putting all the pieces together, which I always enjoy.

Jaded
Image Courtesy of Iron Age Comics

New Characters, New Ideas

Each character brings something new to the table. The first four issues of JADED cover the history of each character and why they have been locked up. And let me tell you, there are some serious issues with these people. That, however, is what makes this story all the more believable. The issues these characters have are realistic and relatable, which makes a lot of their actions seem reasonable, albeit superpowered.

One of my favorite characters was Etherea, or Alexandria “Lexi” Moore. She is a character that can phase through walls and people. She refuses to be imprisoned and finds ways to phase out of a cell specially designed for her capture. Although some parts of her story were a little questionable, the overall purpose for her actions was absolutely justified. She was often considered a “freak” to her abusive, rapist father, which lead to her eventually taking revenge. Each character within JADED has a rhyme or reason for the actions they take, but they end up locked up anyways. Grady O’Connell, for example, loses a loved one too soon and ends up striving for a way to change time. But his actions lead him down a dark path.

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The Art Makes the Story

By far, the art of the story is one of my favorite aspects. Artists Jimbo Salgado and Jomar Bulda and colorist Bunny Pasig do a brilliant job.  They keep it loyal to the superhero trope, but the colors are darker. We get a sense that there is more than we realize going on, and it’s absolutely astounding. The images maintain a constant motion, keeping readers on edge for each page turn.

One of my favorite sequences is at the beginning when Adam Sovereign tries to save a suicidal man. We discover that this man is the city’s best surgeon who tragically couldn’t even save his own daughter. The panels of Sovereign saving this doctor, however, are intense to read. We see the doctor jump off a building, only to repeatedly be tossed by on top of the roof with an invisible force.  The panels maintain the tumbling theme of falling and being tossed up.

Pasig’s colors are really what pushes this narrative forward. The darker colors allude to a less than happy background behind all the characters. It gives us a sense of dread, although we have no idea what we’re worried about. When these colors are paired with stereotypical superhero art style, it creates a new look to the superhero that readers will appreciate.

Jaded
Image Courtesy of Iron Age Comics

Conclusion

Overall, JADED is an absolute delight to read. It was engaging and fun to adventure through. Although there were a few spots where I was a little confused, I loved revisiting it when trying to piece the story together. JADED is a hero story that takes away any sense of kindness from superheroes, and gives us the gritty, dark, and real superheroes some readers (like myself) have been craving.

If you’re new to the series, you’re in luck! Issues #1-6 are available on Kickstarter! If you’re looking for a new type of superhero, this is definitely the place to start!

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