Title: Welcome To Tranquility- One Foot In The Grave #1
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Horacio Domingues
Colorist: Jonny Rench
Letter: Travis Lanham
Release Date: July 21, 2010
Tranquility is an interesting town. Some people are nice, some people are mean, just like every other town in America. Yet, the nice people have saved countless lives, and the mean ones have taken their fair share. Tranqulity is where the elderly superheroes and supervillains go to live out their days, once the battles are over. Years ago, Gail Simone and Neil Googe took us on a trip to this sunny California town with a dark side, and now Simone returns with Horacio Domingues (who’s covered the town before in works outside of the original series) for a return trip.
The original Welcome To Tranquility series was a fun ride; it gave a look at the later days of super heroics, good and bad. Many of the characters were pastiches of others: one is a blatant Captain Marvel homage, while many just fill in standard roles (gentlemen, zombie, pin-up girl, etc.). One of the best parts of the original series was the culture clash between the generations, with characters such as Mister Articulate and Suzy Fury confused by the ways of the young ones, such as Emoticon and Mangacide. It felt like Simone was taking a peek in a corner of the Wildstorm (and therefore, DC Multiverse) that we hadn’t seen before, but had existed for decades. Googe’s art was both fun and action-packed, neither being too comedic nor hard-edged.
With the new miniseries picking up an undetermined amount of time after the surprising conclusion to the last story, though, things have changed. It’s now less about a generational clash, and more about a community having to deal with the damage one of them has done. The younger ones are helping or learning from the older crew, and the creepy old guy is, naturally, hitting on the jailbait. It’s a lot more like a real community now. Additionally, behind the scenes, Horacio Domingues picks up the pencil, and replaces Googe as artist.
Easily, Simone’s writing is consistently good across the board. She’s one of the more steady writers out there today that you’re guaranteed to get a good story out of. Domingues performs admirably in Googe’s absence, and while he doesn’t wholly ape his predecessor’s style, he is consistent enough that it won’t stand too far out there as a “Volume 3” alongside the previous collections. While it has been some time since the previous issues, it works, given that the story picks up at the end of a trial… with notable, high-profile trials in the real world going on for months, if not years. The final page reveal is completely unexpected going in, and honestly surprises the reader.
While Domingues is good for the most part, there’s the occasional hiccup in the art, where he sometimes can’t decide if he wants to be Googe or his own style. At the same time, the book has to deal with a catching-up period, in case you haven’t read the original issues, or have forgotten the events of the past. If it came a month after the previous issues, a single-page recap would have sufficed before it. Simone manages to weave the recap into the character’s dialogue, it’s still feels sluggish to start.
The return trip to Tranquility continues the entertainment of the original series. If you haven’t read the original series, though, you need to start there and then catch up with the rest of us. It’s a fun ride, complete with surprisingly entertaining character: don’t stop at the concept of old people, they’re more fleshed out than you think. You could learn a thing or two from them.