Common Grounds #3 Review

Reviewed by: Mathan Erhardt
Story title: Sanctuary/Heir of Truth

Sanctuary-
Written by: Troy Hickman
Penciled by: Chris Bachalo
Inked by: Aaron Sowd with Tom Bar-Or
Colored by: Brian Buccellato
Lettered by: Dreamer Designs

Heir of Truth
Written by: Troy Hickman
Penciled by: Dan Jurgens
Inked by: Al Vey
Colored by: Guy Major
Lettered by: Dreamer Designs
Cover: Rodolfo Migliari

Publisher: Top Cow/Image

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Common Grounds it is one of the best comic books being produced today. It centers on a chain of coffee shops that super heroes and villains frequent, as a sort of neutral territory. As a result we get to meet characters and see them when they take off the their masks.

For instance we get, perhaps a tad too much information about Speeding Bullets sex life in issue #1. We also got to see a hero and his arch villain have an interesting conversation in the bathroom. #2 had a horrific scene between a rapist and his potential victim, and a tragic tale of a sidekick looking for his missing mentor. Seriously, find these issues and buy them because they are some of the best stories that I have read in awhile.

The first story in this issue is a nice conversation between the Moshe “Acidic Jew” Chomsky and Deb-U-Ton. . The Acidic Jew is cursed with the power to dissolve anything he touches while Deb-U-Ton is super dense. After a chance meeting while taking care of some muggers Moshe and Deb-U-Ton go to Common Grounds for a snack We learn how they are dealing with their abilities. Acidic Jew doesn’t view himself a hero, just a man who is using his abilities to help others. He is a man whose faith has allowed him to temper and live with his acidic touch.

Deb-U-Ton gained her powers as the result of reckless driving. When she learned she had powers she became a super hero. However she has recently considered giving it up, to be a normal teenager. Moshe gives her some jewels of wisdom, about what to do with her gifts and she agrees to think things over.

The second story is about Charm (light based powers) and Strangeness (a behemoth) a sister/brother duo, who happen to be the offspring of the super villain Quantum. After saving some victim of a collapsing building Charm and Strangeness head to Common Grounds to meet with their father’s lawyer to discuss what he left them when he died.

Charm is apprehensive about the meeting while Strangeness wants some closure. It turns out their father has left them a box with some personal mementoes, a picture of he and his wife, a watch commemorating his time in the military, a journal and a curious mask. It’s a very touching story about choices and sacrifices. Plus it has a great cameo by Volks Wagner

Hickman is a real talent. He has not only managed to take a refreshing look at the superhero genre, but he has managed to create some of the most human heroes to date. Moshe’s plight is tough, and Charm and Strangeness’ discover is eye opening, to say the least. But you really understand where the characters are coming from. We are witnessing moments in these characters lives, and these moments are priceless.

Jurgens art is great as always. The tears in the eyes of Charm and Strangeness had me grabbing for tissue. But I’ve been a fan since Booster Gold. I haven’t always been a fan of Bachalo’s work, but here it worked. He managed to make a story between two characters sitting at a table, come alive with action. He has a new fan. Rodolfo Migliari’s cover is just perfect.