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Take A Chance is the first comic book venture from Urban Fantasy writer C.E. Murphy. (I'd highly recommend her "Negotiator" trilogy to any fans of Disney's Gargoyles. It was born, in part, of a love of the series, though there's more to it than that.)

It was published this year as a 5-issue miniseries. The trade was due out in November, but got pushed back. Then the publisher, Dabel Brothers, got swallowed up by another company, so the future of the series is unclear. Shame, since it's pretty cool.

Frankie Kemp lived in a little place in a bad neighborhood with her husband and their four-year-old son. Street fights were common. One day, a stray bullet crashed through the window and killed her child. Her marriage, rockier than she'd previously acknowledged, quickly ended in divorce.

So decided to become an urban vigilante.



Someone in the media said "She likes to take a chance," (a phrase that pops up at least once per issue) and that became her name - Chance. In the five years since, she's operated as the first and only superhero in her world.

And then the world changed. North Korea was developing a weapon of mass destruction... a supersoldier program accidentally set loose. I call it the "I Can't Believe It's Not The Wild Card" virus. Three quarters of the world population was immune or never got infected. Of those who did get it, a third got sick for a while but were otherwise fine, a third died... and a third got super powers. Frankie was in the first category, which makes her wonder if she's become obsolete.



"One of us." The super-powered elite. The ones who are literally above everyone else, so that they've come to see the people on the ground as just... civilians.

Frankie spends her days working in city hall. It's there that a coworker informs her that the man who killed her child has escaped from prison. (Which is the part of the story where we get the flashback to Chance's origin in the first scan.)

That night, Chance hits the street. She busts up one of the usual hangouts and finds her man... but now, thanks to the virus, he has shadow-related super powers. In the darkened hideout, he kicks Chance's butt.

She's rescued by the timely intervention of a would-be hero with electrical powers, but between zaps, the bad guy gets one more good hit in on Chance and then escapes into the shadows. Frankie is not happy about this.





For some reason, I like that. Not only did she realize that she can stand up to him, despite his powers, but she actually did kick his butt. Between panels. And then got him a cab to someplace safe.

Next day, Frankie is called in to be at a press conference about the prisoner's escape. She's badly bruised, but her coworker merely assumes it's just another souvenir from her martial arts classes.

After the press conference, Frankie gets a call from the bad guy, who threatens to come take his revenge because Frankie's testimony put him in jail. Frankie reports the call to a police detective who... comforted Frankie after her divorce. He's married now, and they're just friends. He gets some cops to keep an eye on her apartment that night. Frankie slips out and changes into costume.

Chance finds the bad guy and does pretty much the only thing you can do to a bad guy with shadow powers... lures him into a warehouse and hits the floodlights.



"Boot to the head." I love that.



(The black cop, by the way, is her detective friend.)

She's the only one who wears a mask. The supers are too arrogant to bother. They're a class apart, untouchable. It's a bit of a change of pace from the usual powers = costume bit, and it's a choice I like.

So she's realized here that experience and brains can beat super powers. And she's the only true hero out there. A lot of the powered guys turned bad. The others are playing a role or doing it for kicks or not fighting on either side. More importantly... they no longer see themselves as part of humanity.

This isn't the best issue of the series, but as an intro, it's not bad. It's a strong, independent female hero. With what I like to think of as the "Batman factor" - non-powered vigilante kicking copious amounts of butt in a world full of powered individuals. And, although it shows up more in later issues, the series takes a deliberate stance against many common superhero tropes (as gets pointed out in the narration boxes from time to time), adding at least a shade more realism. But still with that sense of superhero butt-kicking fun. And some interesting plot twists along the way.

I've got all five issues. I can post more if there's interest.

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