The s.h.o.p. is in some ways a work of post-watchman proportions, the dark side of the super hero story, a little grim and gritty. Set in an America, which has seen the rise and fall of super heroes and villains over the last 100 years. Unlike most comics there is a suggestion of real atrocities - the bad guys aren't stealing, they are killing, leaving horrific body counts. A fact that one would have to think would be real if it was a real situation, something often overlooked conventionally. In reaction to this an organisation called The Establishment (love the implications of that, only rivalled by Breathtaker The Man) has been set up to provide super hero response. Growing from city to city The Establishment put together a city-specific team to defend it against attack. But this is an expensive business, costing each city millions each year! So some cities resist the urges of this glorified protection racket and hire their own local talent. Such is the case in Philadelphia, at least until a moments complacency leads to civilian casualties. With mayoral elections coming up The Threshold are out and The Establishment have set up S.H.O.P (the superheroes of Philadelphia). Cosmo is kept on and narrates the story, detailing the rise in villain activity and the increasingly brutal response. But something doesn't seem right to Cosmo and he stumbles on the true motivations of The Establishment. Despite his best attempts to react to his discoveries it isn't the easiest and there are casualties and personal injury before resolution
The S.H.O.P. is a strong piece, evoking much with its small scale - bookshelf format conveying a story that could probably have been comfortably expanded into a small series. Though the format possibly supports the pace of the story and Yurkovich is certainly capable of filling us in on necessary detail. The old trick of including newspaper snippets works on that front, though cutting sentences off, and not quite giving us everything seems self defeating when we can clearly read the text at all. Yurkovich's art is distinct, it bares resemblance to a couple of people who I can't totally place at the moment (perhaps D'Israelli?), at least on first glance. While reading the piece the strength and individuality of his work comes through. Like so many purchases The s.h.o.p. was on an impulse buy on finding it on the shelf of my local comic shop - but certainly one I am pleased with and would tend to look out for more by this creator!