All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books by African-American creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. Check out the archive to see what books have been spotlighted so far.
Today we look at Hero Born #1 by Robert Garrett (writer and creator) and Peter Cacho (artist).
Garrett takes a very interesting approach with this first issue, as it mostly involves first watching a bunch of superheroes get murdered and then see one of the few “surviving” members of the team (essentially the Justice League of this world) watch it happen while he slowly heads to an explosion as his energy powers break down.
So, as you can see, it is pretty darn dark…
However, it is also a darkly HOPEFUL story, as two of the murdered heroes have super-powered children who they’ve sheltered at their satellite base and already these young heroes are trying to figure out a way to avenge their parents. Meanwhile, we also check in with a few other heroes who managed to avoid being killed by what amounted to a single coordinated attack around the globe to wipe out all of the heroes on Earth (plus their families).
In a lot of ways, this is evocative of Roger Stern, John Buscema and Tom Plamer’s classic Under Siege storyline, which opened up pretty darn depressing, as well, with Hercules beaten nearly to death and Jarvis, the Avengers’ loyal butler, being tortured in front of a captured Captain America and Black Knight (Buscema’s detailing of Cap and Black Knight’s eyes as they watch helplessly as their poor butler is brutalized was magnificent, although also really messed up). However, that story turned with the remaining heroes who survived THAT coordinated attack rallying and taking down the bad guys.
I suspect that that is Garrett’s plan, as well, and he sets it up nicely with the interludes with both the other heroes who survived their attacks (this is separate from the main attack on the “main” superhero team, the ones we see in the sample pages) as well as the kids, as the one kid is freaking out and wanting to run out half-cocked while her brother is being more analytical about it, but as the issue ends, he assures his sister that they WILL avenge their parents. It’s a strong moment to end the story on.
The villains are handled well, especially the extremely powerful head villain – he has had himself quite a plan and so far its’ worked out exactly as he wanted.
Cacho does a good job on the art, although the colors (which I presume are by him) are a bit muddy at times.
Garrett tries some interesting storytelling approaches in the comic, like having the dying hero narrate the beginning of the story. He seems to have this well-laid out, plot-wise, so it’ll be very interesting to see where they go from here.