Book Review – “Leaving Megalopolis”. What happens when superheroes turn bad?

After reviewing the fantastic graphic novel The Beautiful Death here I thought to continue with another 5-part comic I read two days ago called Leaving Megalopolis, a 2014 book from Gail Simone.

Leaving Megalopolis: When heroes turn bad. From: Dark Horse Comics

Superhero comic books, when told from the perspective of the ordinary civilian, can be outstanding work like Kurt Busiek’s Marvels series which followed photographer Phil Sheldon as he documented this brave new era. However I do find the additional hook of superheroes turning evil a guilty pleasure, and Leaving Megalopolis follows this theme.

The benchmark for me is the plot, though not the execution, of the Injustice book from DC, a comic series which was spun out of a computer game. The central premise of Injustice is that that Superman loses his head when Gotham’s Joker destroys Metropolis with a nuke and kills Lois Lane and his unborn son. Superman sets up a totalitarian state to bring about order and the story features the rebellion against his fascist rule.

Not all the heroes in that book are “bad” though. Perhaps the most similar comic to Leaving Megalopolis is The Boys from Garth Ennis which portrays a world where superheroes have been corrupted by their celebrity and their increasingly thoughtless and rash actions require a secret taskforce to monitor and deal with. I enjoyed the over-the-top nature of the book though the protagonists were rather stereotyped (The affable Scot, the Cockney geezer, the French one (who was called “Frenchie”) etc….). It isn’t a classic by any means, but it is entertaining fluff.

Heroes of Leaving Megalopolis – Do you recognise any of them? From: Dark Horse Comics

Leaving Megalopolis features even more unhinged superheroes who have unaccountably turned into deranged murderers after encountering an alien. It is unashamedly violent, akin to The Boys, and also sends up popular superhero teams (think Avengers or Justice League) in similarly dark ways. We follow a group of protagonists who want to escape the city of Megalopolis where these superheroes reside. The sense of horror is real, though I did feel that the characters were not as memorable as I might have hoped, with the exception of main protagonist Mina and her cliffhanger leaving the possibility of a sequel. I found the art unsettling in a way that mirrored the palpable tension in the writing, in particular the rage of the superheroes and their glee in causing chaos.

The survivors in Leaving Megalopolis. From: Dark Horse Comics

The main criticism was that I wanted the characters to be fleshed out more. Often certain features of plot were insinuated but there did not seem to be any follow-up, for example there is a hint that one of the band of survivors has done something bad previously, but we never find out what it might be and the book becomes sympathetic towards him. I enjoy mystery and complex characters, but perhaps there was a bit too much shrouding in all but the main character Mina.

Nevertheless, if you do enjoy your stories dark and your worlds dystopic, I recommend that you check this series out, particularly if you enjoy the theme of corrupted heroes.


Dating Apps – My Red Flags on profiles

So Valentine’s Day has come and gone. For singletons like yours truly, this means ever more frantic swiping on shallow smartphone-based dating apps.


I thought I would write a semi-humorous article about the profiles which may make me more inclined to swipe “left” rather than right.

DISCLAIMER: The profiles I have experience with are women. I have no doubt that men can be a lot worse in general and make these mistakes and more. My own profile is probably a mess. I hope not to cause any offence

1) “I have X kids, and they are my world”

I’m sure your children are very important to you, as they should be. And it’s absolutely fine to proclaim your intentions in your dating profile. But if you put it as the headline comment then that’s not award-winning salesmanship!

Every swiping session seems to have a profile pic which is just the aspiring datee’s children. I’m not sure if it is Tinder’s smart algorithm which has promoted that photo or not, but I can’t imagine a situation where someone would want to swipe right on that.

I even have encountered two profile photos with an ultrasound of a baby. Again, I fail to see how this would help her dating.


Source: LyonRoadArt

2) Which one are you?

I’m increasingly seeing a host of images where the individual is hidden like Where’s Waldo (Where’s Wally for fellow Brits) amongst large groups of people. Sometimes there are 14-15 images and one frantically swipes right to find out who the elusive person is, only to find progressively greater and greater crowds of people.


I get that they might be a little bit shy and not want to show an individual photo of themselves on the app, but at least put a few clues in the profile so I can work out which one you are! Thanks.

3) Filterageddon


The weird artificial glazed look the eyes, really oddly placed flowers in the hair, I previously found filters a good addition to dating apps because they add an automatic no filter for me. That was until I moved to an area where 99% of dating profiles have flower or dog filters, rendering the pool of dating to people who haven’t heard of Snapchat. It truly is the end of days….

4) Ex-husband or ex-boyfriend in first profile pic

I think there’s certain rules about guys in the first profile pic:

  • Father = OK.
  • Gay best friend = Probably OK. Grey area
  • Ex-boyfriend = Not OK
  • Ex-husband = Not OK

Seeing her profile picture with her ex-husband isn’t going to make me think “Wow that’s a lovely dress and I can imagine her being my bride”

5) “Is there anyone genuine/nice on here or are you all weirdos?”


Angry hen

I can empathise with the female dater who has had bad experiences, we all have. But again, I’m not sure putting that in the profile is necessarily going to unearth that elusive central segment of the single/genuine person Venn diagram.

As I said, this article was meant to be semi-humorous so I don’t want to cause any offence. If you use puppy-with-tongue-out filters on all your photos (including portraits of your family), don’t let me be the one to stop you. And as always, good luck


REVIEW – Another Lost Phone: Laura’s Story

I treated myself to a mobile bundle on the fantastic Humble Bundle , where you can buy bundles of games and give a contribution to charity and developers. I got the Humble Mobile Bundle 22 which has an interesting range of games.

One of them caught my eye, and I just completed it. Another Lost Phone: Laura’s Story
It’s a short game, but precisely what I was looking for.

I don’t want to give too much away, but the premise is that you have just found the phone of a lady called Laura, and gradually you piece together a narrative about what has happened to her, including her relationships with various people in her life.

The game builds a convincing mobile world, through text messages, emails, notes and many other applications that we all use on our own mobile devices. This might sound tedious, but the world it builds entraps you and the characters are fleshed out so well in this mobile world that you feel an empathy with Laura and a compulsion to unlock more elements of the story.

There is an extra element to this story which I don’t want to give away in this review. Suffice to say that as a guy, I encountered ideas and affinities that are hard to appreciate fully even when you think that you are open-minded.

It was a game which will stay with me for a long time, it’s also available in a number of other languages:

Please let me know of any other games which are similar in terms of narrative and characterisation in the comments section!