Writer: Seamus Kevin Fahey and Zach Craley
Let me start by saying that I do not have one iota of investment in the Heroes series. I’ve never watched an episode of the original series, nor of the ongoing sequel. So I found myself refreshingly surprised that I took a shine to Heroes: Vengeance #1 so quickly.
Heroes: Vengeance #1 tells a wonderfully introspective tale of one Oscar Gutierrez, known by night as El Vengador. Oscar reflects on his childhood with his younger brother, while in the present time he is asking himself “What is a hero?” Deep stuff for a character from the disadvantaged area of Los Angeles, and wonderfully captured by the creative team.
We get a mix of flashback scenes interspersed with panels from the present day. In each case, the tone is wonderfully different. In the flashbacks, Oscar is inspired by the aspirations and idealism of his younger brother. In the present day, he is trying to be the realization of that inspiration, literally becoming the tangible representation of his brother’s favorite luchador. But the stakes are higher and…you know…super-powers. All of the best writing is in the boxed equivalent of 1980s thought bubbles. The inner monologue that Oscar has with himself tells us everything we need to know about the character, or at least allows us to feel everything he is trying to convey. And that is a near perfect bit of craft by writers Seamus Kevin Fahey and Zach Craley.
The art is good, but not groundbreaking, and was the main criteria keeping this book from being in the 8.0+ band. The characters have some dull edges in some cases, and that problem is mainly in the flashback scenes. I know that not every comic needs to have every character model with intense definitions and with interior etching. But these characters seemed a bit flat and unrefined due to that. I realize now that those problems are in the flashback scenes. I figure this is because Rubine was deliberately trying to make the older world stylistically jarring in comparison to the present-day shots. And that’s ok, it’s just that the end result fell a bit short.
Now there were some great panels. There is one full splash page of El Vengador coming off a building in a standard wrestling diving move that is particularly well done. One thing that Rubine does really well is emote faces during action scenes, and that goes a long way.
Heroes: Vengeance #1 is put together with a bit more production quality than I had been expecting. It’s good to see that the budget was applied well and that the right talent was secured to be the caretaker of this particular story. If the creative team can tighten a few areas up, they might just have a winner on their hands.