17th Nov2015

‘Heroes: Vengeance #1’ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Seamus Kevin Fahey, Zach Craley | Art by Rubine | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Paperback, 32pp


For a brief time the television series Heroes was a cultural phenomenon, running from 2006-2010, though by its end it had badly run out of steam. That first season though stands up as good as any you will see. As a show that took its ideas and format from comic books, it has strangely not done very well in translating the Heroes world and characters to the comic book format in the past. Titan Comics are giving it another bash, and doing it the right way by getting the show’s producer, Seamus Kevin Fahey, to co-write.

The central idea is to produce a series of mini-series that will flesh out the background and motivations of the different characters that will be spotlighted in the Heroes Reborn TV show, (currently showing in the US, but not yet the UK), an updating of the original Heroes series. The first character to get that spotlight is Oscar Gutierrez, who is the masked vigilante El Vengador. For people that have already watched the TV show so far, this spotlight on him is very welcome, giving an insight that the show has not been able to for obvious reasons…

The first issue treads fairly familiar territory with the ‘then-and-now’ format, alternating between Oscar taking down a bunch of gang thugs in the present as El Vengador, and the back story of him and his brother Carlos as children. Carlos idealised a masked wrestler called El Vengador, believing him to be a true hero even though Oscar tried to explain to him wrestling was all fake. This is where the issue has its thematic heart; everyone needs someone to believe in, and Oscar taking on the identity of his brother’s childhood hero is clearly symbolic. El Vengador also gives the community in the present someone to believe in, someone to take on the gangs and thugs. As I said, well-worn territory but delivered nicely enough.

As a first issue this all felt a little bit underwhelming. The entire issue can be summarised as ‘fight in present day, watching wrestling in past’, which is pretty much it. Sure, the dialogue adds a little depth but not nearly enough. The technical side of the script I liked, switching between past and present with almost parallel situations then and now but creatively very thin.

The art was a little on the bland side for me, and not helped by the overwhelming computer colouring, which helps to erase any last vestige of artistic individuality. Some scenes were ok, but too many were just static and non-descript, even looking a little amateurish at worst, rushed at best. Not bad as such, but not good either, just very average. A good book needs good art to give it character, to give it a distinctive identity, but this unfortunately fails to deliver on both counts.

If I was grading this, a ‘Must do Better’ would be written in the margin. A fair stab at the genre, but it is not reinventing the wheel here, there is plenty of narrative and back story to work with, and it needs to really pick up with Issue 2.

**½  2.5/5

Heroes: Vengeance #1 is available now from Titan Comics


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