Thursday, December 23, 2004

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhen Atomeka's Hero Squared was announced, I was very interested- I've always been a fan of the J.M. Dematties-Keith Giffen Bwah-Ha-Ha Justice League, and they're responsible for this as well. And truth be told, if you loved their Justice League,you'll like this too- it's full of the same witty repartee and sly (and some not-so-sly) jokes they brought to bear back in the day, as well as their recent miniseries return to the characters, Formerly Known As The Justice League.

It's the story of a slacker who is suddenly confronted with a bigger, more cut-and-buffed version of himself who just happens to wear a costume and possess super-powers. Apparently this super guy is from another, parallel world and is our slacker as he should have been, but didn't become on our world due to circumstances. Anyway, the super-guy, Captain Valor by name, needs help- his own world has been completely destroyed by a evil, powerful conqueror who has followed him to "our" world, and will destroy it too unless he can somehow get his alternate self powered up and team with him. The identity of the bad guy, revealed at the end, also provides a funny twist (but to be honest, I saw it coming early).

The JMD/KG bwah-ha-ha style is a plus, it's also a bit of a minus as well because they don't really do anything all that new; they play a lot of familiar riffs and it's definitely preaching to the converted. The Big Bad of this issue could easily be Mister Nebula; his toady could be L-Ron- they have the same dynamic. It's also very talky; if I was the letterer I'd ask for a higher page rate, preferably by the word. The art, by newcomer (to me, anyway) Joe Abraham, isn't bad; he has a style that reminds me a bit of Kevin Maguire (or maybe that's the JMD/KG influence there), but with a more modern, manga-flavored feel. I understand that this is reproduced from the pencils- I didn't notice it until I read it somewhere else later. Looks like it has been heavily Photoshopped, probably by colorist Matt Nelson, whose bright color palette I kinda liked. Abrahams' stuff still has some rough edges, but I like it overall.

Hero Squared is a lot of fun- it reminds me a bit of a mid/late-90's project that Kevin Maguire was involved with, Strikeback! for some reason. I don't think this book is going to change the industry or anything, but it's an entertaining read and I hope to see more soon. You can access a 12 page preview right here at Comic Book Resources.

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