Polarity is a 4 issue mini-series from the mind of Max Bemis, singer of american rock band Say Anything and published by Boom! Studios.
The book follows Tim, an artist and part of the disenchanted, disenfranchised youth known as the hipster movement residing in Williamsburg, New York as he struggles to come to terms with his bipolar and the realisation that the people he has surrounded himself with are all douches.
To combat this feeling of contempt towards life, he proceeds to pour his medication down the toilet and swap sobriety for heavy drug use and naturally, finds out that he has a form of super bipolar that gives him super powers. Y’know, everyday sort of stuff… Then things get weird.
Issue 1 is a perfect blend of character study, plot introduction, super powers and suspense with a good handful of hipster-bashing thrown in for good measure however from issues 2 and 3 left me with a bad taste in my mouth as the story became 20 pages of hipster jokes thinly veiled behind a tired super hero cliché.
Don’t get me wrong, I hate hipsters as much as the next guy, and loads more than the guy after that but when paying for a comic book I expect some narrative in there somewhere.
By issue 3, the dialogue had become so peppered with hipster references that it became hard to tell the jokes from the general pretentiousness as the book becomes more comfortable in itself and gradually the ultra-meta “we’re in a comic book” references start to rear their ugly, unwanted heads.
The finale issue, issue 4 has some redeeming qualities as it reverts back to what started out as an original concept and ditches the endless stream of bullshit commentary to focus on driving the story forwards.
Don’t get me wrong, I admire what Bemis is trying to do. Taking the opportunity to reverse a real-life affliction to show how it becomes a super power is something I’ve thought about a good number of times. This is a good story letdown by too much filler content.