New Doc Ock Hits Spider-Man
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Marvel Hires New Publisher
Following such rumors, Marvel today announced that Bill Jemas has been replaced as Publisher. Now read who took his job.
CrossGen's Solus #7
CrossGen thinks you'll love George Pťrez's new issue of Solus. And to prove it, here's a five-page preview.
Marvel Searches For She-Hulk
Writer Geoff Johns and artist Scott Kolins reunite for Marvel's Avengers as they search for She-Hulk.
Virtex Returns For Digital Webbing
A comic about a cybernetic cowboy that hunts outlaws riding dinosaurs? Where do we sign up? Read on and find out.
Marvel's Mutants Gains New Penciler
Marvel's New Mutants has a new artist onboard, and we've got a five-page preview. See if he's got the chops.
Image Rocks Out With Shangri-La
Are you ready to rock and roll? Image is, with their upcoming graphic novel Shangri-La. Read the details here.
Marvel Teams Up For A Good Cause
Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk team up for charity in a special December one-shot. Read all about it.
Davis' Marquis Returns In December
Guy Davis' sin-slayer is back in The Marquis: Intermezzo, coming from Oni Press. Read all about it.
Marvel Unveils '04 FF Plans
Marvel plans three Fantastic Four series for 2004, and we've got the details and preview art. Check this out.
2F2F DVD Contest
The hit street racing film 2 Fast 2 Furious is driving to DVD players near you. Win a free copy from Slush and Universal.

Comic Review:
H-E-R-O #1
By Matt Martin


DC Comics Ė Will Pfeifer (w); Kano (a)

DC has a strong history of reviving and relaunching their old concepts (and doing so with financial success). Most recently, they brought back JSA, a bigger accomplishment than most people realize.

Until the recent announcement of its cancellation, I would have said that the new Doom Patrol was a success, given that it had achieved respectable sales figures and critical acclaim, no small task when you consider the fact that the majority of comic readers probably donít have a rosy recollection of their childhood involving Doom Patrol (and letís be honest, nostalgia is what drives 90% of this industry; itís not a new development at all, the guys doing G.I. Joe were just smart enough to capitalize on an untapped resource). This is all relevant because this book is essentially a straight relaunch of the long-dead title Dial H for Hero.

Article continued below advertisement

For those not aware, the essentials of Dial H for Hero, as I understand it (given that Iíve not read more than a handful of issues in my life, if that), were that a particular device had the ability to grant superhuman powers to its possessor if the word ďheroĒ was dialed out on it. Now, I donít recall if this gizmo switched hands on a regular basis or if it stayed with one owner, but in this incarnation, the magic doohickey in question will be passing from owner to owner as each story arc changes. Essentially, the high concept is that an object of unchecked power will pass from person to person, making heroes and villains of the most unlikely individuals and the story will serve as a character study in regards to what average people would do with nigh-limitless power. Think of it as the superhero version of 100 Bullets, thatís how Iíve been explaining it to my customers. All in all, a concept that has a lot of potential. Whether or not that potential is realized, of course, is a matter of whoís in charge of the book.

Pfeifer has chosen, in the bookís opening story arc, to tell a story that is less than uplifting. Now, thatís probably not a decision that I would have made (because you donít want to give your superhero-centric readers the impression that your book is going to be a downer, since thatís apparently the kiss of death to a lot of them), but itís gutsy and I think it works on basically every level.

Jerry Feldon, our protagonist, is a man down on his luck. When the story opens, Jerry is huddled in a phone booth in the pouring rain, mumbling desperately to an operator on a suicide hotline. In the course of his cry for help, Jerry pours out his life story to the stranger on the other end of the line.

At one point, he had a pretty decent, if exceedingly mundane, life. He lived with his parents, went to school and made good money working in the local automotive industry. But in a tale nearly as old as the Industrial Revolution, his areaís economy took a turn for the worse and his job disappeared before his very eyes. Within a span of months, he goes from a man with a good job and a healthy family, to a man who is unemployed and completely alone (his father passes away and his mother moves out west to look for work, effectively abandoning him). Forced to make do on his own, he accepts a job in a local restaurant, making sundaes for a clientele that he is increasingly disgusted with.

Jerryís luck begins to look up when one night, while doing the dishes at work, he chances upon the Hero device (or so I will hereafter refer to it until it gets a proper name). Concealing it in the filthy dishwater from the prying eyes of its rightful owner, Jerry takes it home and ponders it while watching tv with his cat. And in a flash of inspiration, he takes it and climbs the highest building in his town, a bank office ten stories high. Dialing out the word ďhero,Ē Feldon finds himself transformed, wearing a costume and cape, able to soar away from the roof through his own power. But, unsurprisingly given the fact that the reader knows that Jerry ends up on a suicide hotline in a downpour, things do not go as planned.

If I had one complaint about this book (and thatís all I have: one complaint), itís that I was under the impression that each issue would be a self-contained story, an idea thatís disturbing novel given todayís more popular trend of writing arcs for the purpose of being collected in trade paperback form. I have no idea where I got that idea and I was clearly mistaken, as the story will be resolved no sooner than next issue.

However, as first issues go, Pfeifer has cranked out an exceedingly solid one. The premise is well-established via its reliance on a pre-existing one, but not fleshed out so much that there isnít room for creative license or a sense of wonder about whatís going to happen next. And when you figure that the real mark of a well-crafted first issue is a drive in the reader to pick up the next issue, you canít help but call H-E-R-O #1 a success.

Final Score: 4.5/5


E-Mail Author  |  Archive  |  Tell A Friend



Sword of Dracula
Slush launches our Halloween countdown with the first in a series of spooky reviews. First up? New series, Sword of Dracula.
John Byrne's IMO
This week John points out that fans cannot read the minds of creators, although you wouldn't know that by listening to some of them.
The Dead Zone
Flesh-eating zombies battle the last remaining police officer in Image's new series, The Walking Dead. We review the first issue.
Steve Niles Interview
Slush interviews Steve Niles, the acclaimed writer of 30 Days of Night, who tells us about the relaunch of Fused.
A Spidery Preview
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Kill Bill Review
Slush reviews the first installment of Quentin Tarantino's kung fu slasher masterpiece, Kill Bill.
Viper Interview
Slush takes a look at new publisher Viper Comics, and interviews the guys behind two of its hottest books.
Peanuts Collected
Cartoon fans rejoice. Fantagraphics is reprinting the entire collection of Charles Schulz' Peanuts. Read on for details.

CHANNELS:  Features | Columns | Reviews | News | Film & TV | Forums | Slushfactory.com

Copyright © 2003 Slush Factory Entertainment (E-mail)
All Rights Reserved : No portion of Slush may be reprinted in any form without prior consent