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Posts Tagged ‘H-E-R-O’

H-E-R-O #14

August 7, 2012 Leave a comment

March 8, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Ch-Ch-Changes Conclusion

Stuck in the body of Electro-Lass, what does a common construction worker do when his girlfriend is being held hostage and his best friend wants to marry him?

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: Leonard Kirk
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: JD Mettler
Letters: Ken Lopez
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: John Van Fleet
Publisher: DC Comics

Trapped in the body of Electro-Lass after using (and promptly losing) the H-Device, the former burly construction worker goes through a roller-coaster in this issue. His best friend tells him he’s in love with him, his girlfriend is being held hostage by a couple of muggers he took out last issue, and he still can’t find the only thing that could give him his own body back.

This issue really shows off the sort of stories you can tell in a book like this with no regular cast, focusing instead on a concept that leaps from character to character. The way this story unfolds and concludes could probably never be done with a continuing character. It makes for an original read that really shouldn’t feel as original as it does.

Will Pfiefer doesn’t skimp on the major subplot of this title either, giving us a scene with the original device-wielder Robby Reed that promises to start tying together the various tales that this book has told since issue one.

It’s always a pleasure to see Leonard Kirk penciling a comic book, and it’s a shame that he doesn’t have a regular series at the moment. He’s one of the most underappreciated artists in comic books – he always has good characterization, dynamic poses and strong storytelling. It’s only due to a quirk of his own (which he freely admits) that he’s no longer penciling JSA. This book only whets my appetite and makes me want more. Together with Wade Von Grawbadger and JD Mettler, they do great work on a comic book bereft of supervillains and with only a few characters in spandex at all (although there are plenty of energy effects which are done very well).

This is a solid book that tells interesting superhero stories that you just couldn’t get anywhere else. The subplot with Robby promises to really kick things into high gear very soon – if you aren’t reading this title, why not? You’re just depriving yourself of one of the smartest superhero comic books out there.

Rating: 8/10

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H-E-R-O #11

November 9, 2010 1 comment

December 7, 2003

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: The Great Leap Forward

A self-contained issue tells the story of the first bearer of the H-Device

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Art: Kano
Colors: JD Mettler
Letters: Ken Lopez
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: John Van Fleet
Publisher: DC Comics

The most interesting aspect of this title for me is the prospect of, after all these years, finally having a story behind the H-Device. We get a bit of a clue in this issue that spirals back in time 50,000 years to a group of cavemen who find a strange glowing device that comes crashing to Earth. Archeologists through the centuries find the remnants of the power a caveman is granted, without ever grasping the true significance of their finds.

This is a quick read, as there is no English in the long prehistoric segments (caveman dialogue seems limited to “Oot” and “Hurm”), but it’s a good read nonetheless. This is a consistently good title that doesn’t get quite the recognition it deserves. Since issue one it’s been an exploration of superheroism. With this issue it becomes an exploration of superpowers throughout history.

Kano may not be a comic book superstar artist, but he’s hands-down the right artist for this title. He has a slightly more iconic style than you average superhero artist, but it works really well on this title, and on this issue in particular. The cavemen look very good, and the later museum scenes work equally well.

For a book like this, which is increasingly hinging on the mystery of the H-Device, it’s nice to take a look at the backstory once in a while. I’m left with just one question, though… when the Device crashed to Earth in 48,000 B.C., why were the letters in English?

Another mystery to ponder, Mr. Pfeifer. Thanks a lot.

Rating: 8/10

H-E-R-O #10

July 1, 2010 Leave a comment

November 9, 2003

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: A World Made of Glass Part Two

The small-time hood who found the H-device last issue continues his quest to become Gotham City’s greatest supervillain.

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Art: Kano
Colors: Jo Mettler
Letters: Ken Lopez
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: John Van Fleet
Publisher: DC Comics

Last issue we were introduced to Anthony Finch, a two-bit crook who bombed out as a henchman for the Joker and somehow escaped with his life. This issue we watch as he continues to use the H-device (I keep wanting to say “dial,” but it’s not a dial anymore) to make himself into a supervillain. The great thing about this series thus far is how Pfeifer has shown that the device does not change anybody’s heart or mind when it changes their body and gives them powers. Some people try to become heroes and blow it. Some wreak havoc. Finch has no dreams bigger than to become another master criminal in a city already overrun with them.

Each story in this title, from the four-issue to the one-issue stories, has proven to be a wonderful character study. Like 100 Bullets, though, he as begun his series with a group of seemingly unrelated tales, only to introducing a unifying subplot. This issue we again check in on Robbie Reed, the original owner of the H-dial, as he jealously watches the series of superpowered beings tearing a swath across the country. As good as the individual stories are, it is the prospect of this story that has me the most interested in this series.

Kano’s art continues to impress, being perfect for this title, which in this issue delves a bit deeper into the DC Universe than it has in the past. It fits, though, for a book with a mystical superhero theme. I’m not sure how good this book is doing, sales-wise, but I don’t think it’s doing as well as it deserves. Read and enjoy.

Rating: 8/10

Plastic Man Lost Annual #1

June 22, 2010 Leave a comment

December 13, 2003

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Various

A collection of Plastic Man comics to whet your appetite for the new series!

Writers: Jack Cole, Dave Wood, Arnold Drake & Steve Skeates
Artists: Jack Cole, Jim Mooney, Gil Kane, Ramona Fradon & Teny Henson
Editor: Dale Crain
Cover Art: Jack Cole, Jim Mooney, Gil Kane, Ramona Fradon & Teny Henson
Publisher: DC Comics

One of the best specialty products DC Comics puts out these days are the occasional “lost” 80-page giants with classic stories to go with their current hits. This book, timed to coincide with this month’s new Plastic Man #1, serves up six old Plastic Man comics and one prose short story.

The first two stories in this books, “The Origin of Plastic Man” from Police Comics #1 and “The Man Who Can’t Be Harmed” from Police Comics #13, both by Plastic Man creator Jack Cole, are the real treasure here. Cole had a beautiful art style and a wicked sense of humor. Parts of “The Origin of Plastic Man” were “borrowed” by Kyle Baker for the first issue of the new series. People who enjoyed that book will want to read this to see how the creator drafted those same scenes. “The Man Who Can’t Be Harmed” is significant in that it introduces Plastic Man’s sidekick, Woozy Winks. Folks who wonder who Plas wound up with this dumpy partner – here’s your answer.

“The Wizard of Light” from House of Mystery #160 is an odd addition, but delightful for fans of silver age camp. In this book Robby Reed, the first star of DC’s Dial “H” For Hero series (recently resurrected as the very good H-E-R-O) spins his magic dial and transforms into… the lost Plastic Man! Why? Well… most likely, because DC had acquired the rights to the character and needed to use him somewhere for copyright purposes, but it still made for a clever read.

“The Dirty Devices of Dr. Dome,” from 1966’s Plastic Man Vol. 2 #1, is a fairly unremarkable comedy/superhero story where Plas faces off, of course, against a goofy villain named Dr. Dome. This story is remarkable only for two reasons – it has artwork by the immortal Gil Kane, and because Kane, as magnificent an artist as he was, frankly didn’t draw a very good Plastic Man. It’s like looking at Jay Leno in the costume.

The final story is “The Hamsters of Doom” from Plastic Man Vol. 2 #11 – from 1976, according to the table of contents (11 issues in 10 years – it’s like reading The Ultimates). Another unremarkable story, but not a bad one.

The first three stories in this book are well worth the price of admission, however, especially the Jack Cole stories. It may not be required reading for the new Plastic Man series, but it’s certainly recommended reading.

Rating: 8/10