Digitally distributed freely for joining creator Sam Johnson’s “Geek-Girl” mailing list, this eleven-page computerised comic is a good example of just why Markosia Enterprises “has become one of the United Kingdom’s leading publishers” and “have gained a reputation for producing a diverse range of comic books and graphic novels that cover almost all genres.” For whilst “Lightning Strikes!” undoubtedly presents itself in many ways as a fairly stereotypical super-hero publication with its straightforward script depicting the fall of Maine’s “resident super-heroine” Neon Girl to a new villain, and a dubious Ruby Kaye resultantly taking up the mantle of the north easternmost state’s protector, its contrived mix of college high-jinx antics, sexual party games, cleavage-filled costumes and suddenly all-too serious ‘death-defying’ story-telling certainly makes this title a surprisingly adult, unusual read.
To begin with, the “writer of the acclaimed comedy super-team comic The Almighties” conceivably captures his audience’s attention by predominantly using this book to dwell upon one of the few areas which arguably the vast majority of similar heroic stock narratives tantalisingly truncate – the medical aftermath of a serious super-powered beat-down. Neon Girl’s physically horrific-looking hospitalised state genuinely conveys the savage raw power of Lightning Storm’s electrical attack in a way a half-dozen of Carlos Granda’s well-illustrated panels depicting crackling energy bolts could never properly communicate, and makes the bespectacled Little Miss Popular’s hesitancy to tackle the formidably-powered platinum-blonde psychopath all the more understandable.
Likewise, the arrival of the “Numero Uno” heroine’s brother at the badly-wounded protagonist’s bedside, as well as his subsequent frank conversation with the patient’s less than optimistic consultant, somewhat strikes home that there’s more than one victim to this savage assault and far wider consequences to Neon Girl’s rather public defeat than the woman simply dusting herself off and taking the fight back to her vicious rival. Indeed, if Johnson’s script suggests anything, it’s that “Sandy-pits” surgery will put her at “quite [a] high” risk of death, so everything seemingly rests upon the titular character’s disconcertingly amateur shoulders if the local “Big Gun” is to be avenged and Maine made safe once again.
Such medical drama is doubtless hardly the sort of baptism of fire Ruby imagined for herself in order to “demonstrate her newfound abilities” when she first “landed a pair of power-inducing super-tech glasses from her college’s resident brainiac.” Yet such scintillating spectacle is precisely what this comic somehow generates in between its disconcertingly immature ‘jokily given monikers’, klutzy drink spillages over “expensive designer dresses” and drunken strip poker shenanigans.