With books already shipped, Lim recently released the digital copies of his latest series, Kamen America. Within the first few pages, he sets up a typical narrative of modern times with “Girls can do everything that guys can” and how a teacher encouraged the protagonist to do baseball, instead of what she likes doing.
This section was clearly targeted towards Lim and company, and their own ideologies, in that they touch on modern ideas and their effects on the youth. While not hitting you over the head with it, imagery and concepts of Lim’s beliefs are prevalent throughout the series and hold it back at times, combined with the long and dry first half to set up our heroine.
Seeing Kamen America’s origin story wasn’t as fun or funny as it initially led on, with jokes on a press company branding her, getting McDonald’s to sponsor her or naming monsters like Gourdasaurus. All of these elements weren’t as impactful to me and made the series feel longer initially, but I understood later on where Lim and Pellegrini were coming from, as a majority of humor in the book is done through play on words, cheesy supermove names and older jokes.
All of these were aspects that made the series what it was and harken back to older times where some of the cheesier comic stories would have corny names and moves that have become staples. Even Japanese manga does the same, something that Lim’s art is heavily influenced by in this series.
Lim’s art is what drew me in, couple with the superhero narrative, but it wasn’t enough to keep me wanting to come back. As a series, Kamen America has fun art and scenes, and I love the use of colors on all the characters involved, but the jokes didn’t land as well as I was hoping for.
Based on Lim’s initial art and concept, I expected a quirkier series. Instead, we got a heroine who stumbles around at times, but has a heart of gold. The series even focuses on her being a seamstress heavily, so much that it resolves a fight. This unique aspect however, wasn’t enough to retain my attention for a book that in the end, wasn’t as exciting or impactful as I’d hoped it would be.
Lim delivered in the art department and gave us some unique hero concepts, but the politics are present at times and a clear influence in some aspects of the story. Seeing CNN get mentioned or talking about what’s expected of girls, wasn’t something I was expecting, nor was it something that added much to the story, from my perspective.
Instead, the series as a whole, felt lacking, due to a story that wasn’t as strong as the art.