Having lived in Michigan only since high school, for some reason I’m only now starting to find more things interesting about the “Great Lakes State.” Being originally from the “Sunshine State,” my mid-teen self was particularly jaded at moving to the midwest, and that feeling stayed with me for quite a while. But my time here as well as road trips around the mitten and to the upper peninsula have shown me that, even with it’s faults, this state is a beautiful place with a lot to offer.  So even if it was just a backdrop for the story, I was totally jazzed to read WORTH and get it’s take on superpowers in The Motor City.

The Story: 1967. Detroit is a city in flux. A city with a slew of political, social, and economic problems. A city on fire. In the midst of riots, a man with power set himself on the side of the people to make things right. From stopping police brutality to putting out fires–both literal and metaphorical–mechanopath Grant Worth used his machine-manipulating powers to be at the forefront of the city’s attempt at rebirth. Embodying the symbiotic relationship between man and machine, Grant simultaneously embodied the city’s industrial background and spirit of innovation.

But that was forty-six years ago.

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2013. Grant Worth is an old man lost and jaded in a land of new technologies, his mechanopathic powers outdated in a world of computers–the one kind of technology he can’t seem to control. His part in Detroit’s 12th Street Riots well in the past, his life sits in the shadows of his glory days as he lives in a run-down house repairing old cars for money.  But when he meets Elliot, a high school student with hopes of designing machines, Grant finds himself facing his past and in a place to determine the city’s future.

Written by comic-editor-turned-writer Aubrey Sitterson, (formerly of THQ and 2K Games) WORTH tells a fun and exciting, if often told, story.  Centered around an aging man attempting to hold on to his old-school values in a world that’s passed him by, the story of Grant Worth provides another take on the “old man living in a world with new technology and a new society.”  Attempting to (or being forced to) pass down his old-school mentality, values, and abilities to a younger protegé of sorts, WORTH feels reminiscent of Gran Torino and Karate Kid.  While by no means a bad comparison, some of the story feels fairly predictable, hurting some of the dialogue that would have been witty and making some scenes less powerful. If anything, I’d love to hear what someone who hasn’t seen either of those movies thinks of this series.

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The series does a lot for addressing community and interpersonal relationships in a world made less and less personal by technology.  The comparisons between Grant’s morning routine and his young protegé are stark, each incorporating different technologies into their lives and using to maintain their schedules.  While a re-telling of the “old man takes young protegé under his wing and teaching him old school values” story, WORTH does it with a super-powered twist making new again what was once old.

Also, showing super-powered people age has always struck a chord with me. It reminds me of Troy Hickman’s “Time of Their Lives” in Common Grounds and Incrediblesspecifically with their themes of looking back at one’s past accomplishments while still having hopes and dreams for the future really resonated with me.  Maybe because of of this WORTH had my attention, even in the first few pages.

Despite this, there are a couple scenes that felt a bit awkward. A particular scene in which Grant “drives” (quotations used because sometimes he chooses to drive using his powers, and is that really “driving”?) through the city seems particularly contrived despite his powers and history of driving “hands-free.” But it’s not bad, and it actually works with the story and the sporadic theme of late eighties movie clichés.

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The Art: Artist Chris Moreno, whose work spans many a-publisher/series, brings a lot to the super-powered happenings of modern day Detroit.  Possibly the most interesting thing about the artwork is when it transitions from the past to the present, giving us glimpses of the characters in the years following the riots. Time passes and we see the characters age as the city grows, they start families, and their ideologies change, turning them into the people we see in 2013.  We watch as Grant loses hair and his posture begins to slump, turning the young and vibrant super hero into the crotchety old man we know.

The way in which Grant’s powers are illustrated is also rather interesting. The power itself is rather subtle, his hands and the machine he’s affecting both glowing with a blue x-ray sort of transparency about it.  It mirrors the connection he has with the machinery, the understanding that he has with the technology he uses.  But what I find more interesting is when he uses his powers on machines with computers.  In proper eighties style, circuit board patterns and ones and zeroes overlay his mind and the space around him as he struggles to control them.  I know the effect doesn’t really sound that fantastic, and even a bit stupid, but the context of the story combined with the way Moreno uses the effect makes for some incredible moments.

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Just a five issues long, WORTH is a fascinating and meaningful series.  While it has it’s minor faults, this comic has enough going for it that it warrants a read. Great themes like community, friendship, responsibility, and self-discovery combine in a slightly different way from your average comic, making the lives of the characters interesting even if you don’t fully identify with them.  More and more I’m finding it’s easy to pick up short series like this where a solid story can be for so little.  Even if you’re not sure about it, you can get the first issue for free on Comixology, so there’s no reason not to check it out!

WORTH can be purchased at your Local Comic Shop or on Comixology.

About The Author

Long time fan of comic books, video games, and movies. Zander is often no where to be found because he's marathoning movies and tv shows or playing video games till all hours of the night as most disillusioned twenty-somethings are wont to do. Polar opposites are the game: action/comedies and dramas, FPS games and turn-based strategy, science fiction and historical fiction. Why pick one thing when there are so many good things?

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