"It Girl & the Atomics" #1 is the first time I've set foot in the wacky world of Madman. With that out of the way, I can say with great confidence that if "It Girl" is in any way an indicator of what to expect from the Mike Allred creator-owned "Madman," then I am definitely going to be coming back to this universe soon.
Beyond featuring his creation, the only direct contribution Mike Allred has to "It Girl & the Atomics" is the cover. Jamie S. Rich handles the writing and Mike Norton jumps onboard to provide more than a few Mike Norton moments. The duo, joined by Allen Passalaqua on colors and Crank! on letters deliver a lovely invitation for cape-and-cowl readers to check out Allred's creations.
Norton's art alone would be enough to bring me in for a closer look, but Passalaqua colors this comic with such ridiculous boldness -- thanks in no small part to Allred's designs -- that "It Girl & the Atomics" #1 simply can't be ignored. Once it was in my hands, I was hooked. The art is stunning and the story fits nicely like a hand in a four-colored glove. Norton manages to walk the tightrope between outlandish cartooniness, detailed storytelling and just plain fun superheroic comics. He does it so well that new readers could be fooled into thinking this is a standard gig featuring characters he is intimately familiar with, when it's really the first time he's worked with this cast.
Rich writes It Girl as a bored superhero and we all now what happens to bored superheroes -- they find trouble. That sums up the issue nicely, but along the way, Rich introduces characters from all across the Madman mythos. Amazingly, despite introducing nearly a dozen characters, Rich manages to keep the spotlight tightly dialed in on It Girl. The writer provides detailed background that won't smother the reader and provides each character with distinct voices. Given that this is the first chapter of a longer story, there's more to It Girl's adventures than this single issue, although this issue certainly does deliver a complete read.
"It Girl & the Atomics" welcomed me into the "Madman" world without hesitation. I grew up as a mainstream superhero comic reader. While my tastes have evolved and my willingness to sample other types of stories has grown, superheroes are my happy spot. This issue brings me to that happy spot with a wonderful amount of quirkiness and humor, not unlike an issue of the early Giffen-DeMatteis-Maguire "Justice League" or an episode of "Freakazoid." This is good stuff and I'm looking forward to more.