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REVIEW: Image Comics’ The Ambassadors #1 Is an Ambitious New Superhero Story
REVIEW: Image Comics' The Ambassadors #1 Is an Ambitious New Superhero Story,Mark Millar and Frank Quitely's The Ambassadors #1 hands readers a golden ticket to a new and ambitious superhero story.

REVIEW: Image Comics’ The Ambassadors #1 Is an Ambitious New Superhero Story

  • The Ambassadors #1
    Writer:
    Mark Millar
    Artist:
    Frank Quitely
    Letterer:
    Clem Robins
    Cover Artist:
    Frank Quitely
    Publisher:
    Image Comics
    Price:
    $3.99
    Release Date:
    2023-03-29
    Colorist:
    Frank Quitely

The Millarworld is about to become even bigger, with a brand-new comic book described as "Willy Wonka with superpowers." Written by Mark Millar, with artwork and coloring by Frank Quitely, and lettering by Clem Robins, The Ambassadors #1 is an ambitious introduction to a miniseries that aims to turn the superhero trope on its head. In typical Millar fashion, though, this story isn't about to go in the expected direction.

The Ambassadors #1 sets the stage for its intriguing premise by providing insight into why this is happening. World powers have searched for the super-genome that gives people powers, including an entire country that faked having it. However, this monumental discovery has been made in South Korea by a doctor named Choon-he. She isn't interested in weaponizing or selling it to world governments, though, as she plans to find altruistic people to share the powers with, allowing them to become ambassadors for their country and protect planet Earth.

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Unlike the first issues of Millar's other series, the writer takes a well-calculated approach here. This isn't frenetic or bursting with too much action. It's easy to see the comparisons to Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory since the issue does mirror the opening chapters of the novel. Millar makes it clear how coveted the super-genome is, with it being positioned as the golden ticket that can change everything.

Quitely brings his distinct and charismatic style to this series, matching the tone of Millar's story to perfection. The artist has more than proven he is a master of knowing when to focus on ornate details and when to allow the art to breathe in other series, such as All-Star Superman and Jupiter's Legacy. He brings the same thoughtful approach here.

What's particularly impressive is how he captures the atmosphere of the different cities he draws. While his depiction of Soweto, South Africa, doesn't state which neighborhood it represents — considering there are wealthier, suburban areas, like Pimville and Diepkloof — the corrugated steel roofing sheets and satellite dishes are common features of many South African township structures. This demonstrates a high level of research Quitely put into nailing aspects of these locations from around the world.

For Robins, The Ambassadors #1 isn't bursting with a ton of action or explosive sound effects. Regardless, the letterer still delivers a steady presentation that lets the reader follow the story in a cohesive, flowing manner, which works in the story's favor as an introductory issue.

As an introduction to the series, The Ambassadors #1 is a globe-trotting affair that sets the scene for what's to come — eloquently and efficiently. It isn't too difficult to see why everyone would want to become a superhero, and how access to the super-genome could also be utilized for the wrong reasons. Equally intriguing is the last few pages of the book that suggest all is not what it seems.