was a dark superhero series published by Comico
in the 1980s and 1990s. It was written and illustrated by Bill Willingham, later of Fables
Four ordinary humans are brought back from the dead
by ancient elemental spirits in order to combat Saker, an evil sorcerer who is a danger to the natural order. The first few issues of the series featured typical superhero battles, but the series grew more psychological as it progressed, delving into topics such as death, fame and alienation. Elementals
was an interesting example of mature comics before DKR
, and remains a cult favorite among many who have read it.
Elementals features examples of:
- Bittersweet Ending: In the first story arc, the Elementals defeat Saker, but the supernatural atomic bomb Shadowspear has still been unleashed into the world.
- Combat Pragmatist: Saker challenges Vortex to a no-powers, mano a mano fistfight, at which point Vortex uses his powers to lift Saker up and feed him to his own demons. Bill Willingham loves this trope, and uses it over and over again.
- Obviously Evil: Saker's origin story begins with him CURSING JESUS CHRIST AS HE IS CRUCIFIED, then going on to become an inquisitor, a witch burner and a Nazi. He plans to murder billions of people, but is stopped (kind of).
- We Can Rule Together: Saker delivers this speech to Tommy, leading to a Shut Up, Hannibal! moment.
- Slave to PR: An interesting take on this one. The Elementals are about to be used as lab rats, and have no legal power to prevent this. So they start doing superheroic things as a way to keep the public on their side, keeping themselves Untouchable as far as the government is concerned.