Imagine a hero who appears to have it all. Great powers, reasonably good looks, and public adoration. So why is he so depressed? He’s like Superman mixed with Richard Lewis. (If you’re too young to know who Richard Lewis is…look him up). That is life of Ahoy Comic’s Penultiman. Although to be fair, he has a reason to feel somehow inadequate. When you come from a race of advanced beings that are considered the ULTIMATE evolution of the species, it hurts to find out you don’t quite measure up. So much so that you are cast out. Declared inferior. Hence, Penultimate.
And while Penultiman struggles with some self-worth issues, he does his best to do his job. Defeating evildoers and defending those too weak to defend themselves. Right out of Hero Guy 101, Class. But even after defeating villains such as Zev Zolo and his Cosmic Pinball Machine, the doubt remains.
Fortunately for the hero, he has some moral support. Even if he doesn’t really want it. Enter AntePenultiman, his robot sidekick, backup, and sometimes therapist. He sees that angst that Penultiman is experiencing and believes he should face it. But how? As fate would have it, circumstances arise to resolve that particular issue. His “Ultimate” family comes a calling for him to save their bacon.
THIS is what he was waiting for. He will save the day for them and they will have no CHOICE but to accept him and let him stay where he belongs…Home! It seems like fortune is finally smiling on him. But while he is gone, he will need for AntePenultiman to fill in for him. Surely he can do that without any difficulties. Right?
For his part, AntePenultiman felt like his boss was setting himself up again for disappointment. He tried to warn him, but he would hear nothing negative going in. This would all work out and then AntePenultiman would be the hero here while he would take his rightful place at home. That would also mean that AntePenultiman would also assume the hero’s alternate identity: FBI Agent Wayne Cruz. Talk about adding to his troubles, his alter-ego is treated so poorly by his co-workers, there’s no wonder he would have self-esteem issues. But that will be a thing of the past once he resolves his home world’s problems. So did that happen? Did AntePenultiman do his job and keep the status quo? The answer to these question is to read the first issue.
Our friends at Ahoy Comics along with Tom Peyer and artist Alan Robinson have created a character that shares characteristics with many of the most famous of heroes in comics, especially in the Stan Lee era. One of the striking features about heroes that Stan and Jack Kirby created were they were relatable. Heroes were created that had issues. Confidence challenges, relationship issues, and fears about family vulnerability that they were required to confront. Tom Peyer obviously embraces those kinds of personal confrontations. But he added one that most heroes DON’T suffer from: Inferiority complexes. Somewhere, Stan Lee nods his approval with Penultimate Man.
Artist Alan Robinson and Colorist Lee Loughridge rock the look of this book with an almost whimsical style. One need only look at villain Zev Zolo and his Cosmic Pinball Machine. I’m pretty sure I had tried Zev’s hairstyle in the shower more than a few times in my youth. I didn’t pull if off as good as Zev does. Now it’s too late…not enough hair.
If you love super hero books that embrace old school virtues with a whimsical look, Penultiman fills the prescription. I am really looking forward to see where this story goes. Knowing Peyer, it will take some twists along the way. Check it out where all great books are found by the creative folk at Ahoy Comics. And be sure to let us know what you think, here at Geek Vibes Nation.🖖🏻
Senior Writer at GeekVibesNation – I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 17 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.