Chico Comic Reviews: Hero Killers
Writer: Ryan Browne
Artist: Pete Woods
Colorist: Celeste Woods
Assistant Editor: Kevin Ketner
Senior Editor: Matt Idelson
Collection Cover Artist: Ryan Browne
Collection/Logo Design: Geoff Harkins
Review: James Kniseley
Hero Killers is a fantastic ride that almost delivers the perfect masterpiece of a comic.
First off, Hero Killers is visually stunning. Everything about the art is detailed and vibrant. It conveys the world brilliantly. You will never get bored looking at this comic. Characters are detailed and expressive. Everything is conveyed extraordinarily well. The frustration and desperation is a lot of the scenes it presented fantastically. I’ll put this with the visuals because it has to do with the text, but the one complaint I have with the visuals is that the writer continually interjects asterisks into dialogue and then makes notes how you are supposed to read this. I admiralty hate when comics treat the audience as incompetent and unable to understand what is going on. If you want to keep good with your audience, you have to show them respect. This declaration of the tone you are supposed to read the panel in is done so often that you just stop paying attention to the notes and roll your eyes. You use punctuation, word choice, and the image itself to tell the audience how to interpret the dialogue.
The world created in this comic is wonderfully fantastic. The idea behind there being too many heroes in the city and so everyone is fighting over the spotlight is intriguing. This is the shining point of the comic. You always want to see what happens next with this idea. A lot of comics like to have a large brigade of heroes, but none of them explore the idea of too many heroes and not enough crime. That’s what this does. It’s ingenious idea is what are heroes like when there are not enough villains left. It’s this notion that grabs your attention and never lets go.
Another thing this comic does superbly is its subplots. There are several subplots weaved throughout the comic. Some are subtle that it’s not apparent until near the end, but you can see the seeds planted throughout the comic. This allows some of the moments in the beginning to have a different meaning once you get to the end. I like subplots, so that was a nice addition to give a little more depth to the minor characters. There is a great dynamic between the heroes and how the rivalries fall. Because the world is presented through the eyes of the sidekicks , you get a greater sense for how despicable some of these heroes are. One idea that is not fully fleshed out but it interesting is the idea of Heroes needing villains to be heroes, and if there are no villains then they become slightly villainous themselves. They need each other to fully exists. This gray view on superheroes is intriguing to form a story around,
However, for as great as the first two-third of the comic is, it falls apart in the last third. The ideas presented in the first part of the comic are intriguing and engaging. They keep you reading and wanting to turn the page. However, all that intrigue is thrown out the window part way through when you discover that everything you thought would be long-lasting consequences doesn’t matter. The title is misleading because only one hero dies in the comic. Instead, the reader is cheated out of everything they’ve invested in when it is discovered that the “killed” heroes have only been transported to an alternate dimension.This leads into the ridiculous ending about an invasion from this dimension that negates all character development as everyone forgets about what has transpired and fends off the invasion. I say negate because everyone seems to forget about all the murderous activities that have taken place and treat everyone as they are trustworthy. It was unsatisfying not to maintain the small amount of characterization that was presented.
I mentioned characterization because the characters are not fully developed. While the comic was engaging and enjoyable, I like to know the characters, and not much was done to make them unique. There are small glimpses into their personalities, but mostly the three leads are defined by one personality trait. The early parts of the comic try to give justification to what happens in the middle, but it falls short just slightly off the greatness it could achieve. However, what characterization we are shown does a great job of melding the three different tones of the leads into an interesting mix of ideals. It teases you just enough to turn the page. I just wish they would have gone all out and make the characters fully round.
Should you buy:
Overall, this is a page-turner. Even if it has flaws, I couldn’t put it down. It has a unique take on the superhero world and presents some intriguing questions to the reader. However, the writers stop just short of delivering a masterpiece by chickening out on the gritty nature of the work and doing a small reset. Despite the flaws, I would highly recommend giving this a read.
I give this an 8/10
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