Writer: Brian Buccellato
Art and Colors: Stefano Simeone
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: October 11, 2023
Reviewed by: Samriddh Chaudhary
“Midlife #1” introduces readers to the world of Ruben Kwan, a 50-year-old firefighter plagued by a lifelong fear of fire. Rather than confronting blazing infernos, he has spent his career handling paperwork, living in the shadow of his heroic father who perished in the line of duty. However, as he grapples with a midlife crisis and the impending arrival of his wife’s baby, an unexpected act of bravery reveals Ruben’s newfound superpower—fireproof skin.
This issue immerses readers in a character-driven narrative brimming with depth and emotional resonance, prioritizing substance over traditional superhero action. The story can be dissected into two distinct halves. One facet delves into Ruben’s life, his regrets, and his yearning for change, while the other introduces his extraordinary discovery of fireproof abilities.
These two narrative threads elegantly converge by the issue’s conclusion, delivering an engaging cliffhanger. Although the characters aren’t fully fleshed out yet, we gain insight into Ruben’s complex emotional state and his relationships, particularly with his wife. The series keeps its cards close to its chest, but it’s evident that Ruben’s newfound powers will lead to a transformative phase in his life.
“Midlife #1” boasts meticulously crafted art, characterized by its clarity and attention to detail. Each panel showcases striking character designs, imbued with vivid emotions. The art may diverge from the conventional superhero aesthetic, but it successfully conveys the excitement and emotional resonance that the narrative aims to evoke in readers.
“Midlife #1” offers an intimate and poignant portrayal of a protagonist facing a midlife crisis, punctuated by the unexpected twist of superhuman abilities. The issue masterfully balances character exploration with plot development, culminating in a well-executed cliffhanger. While the art may differ from traditional superhero visuals, it effectively captures the excitement and anticipation surrounding Ruben’s journey into heroism.