As a concept, “Hero Squared” is movie madness waiting to happen. Or, at least, Fox Network sitcom material in the making. Maybe.
The notion behind this oft-raved-about, seldom-reviewed-about title is that there is a parallel universe superhero who meets his non-super self in the primary universe occupied by the characters in this story. It’s not quite as trippy a concept to wrap one’s head around as the concept of time travel, but it’s close.
That said, Giffen and DeMatteis present a tale that’s less “bwah-ha-ha-ha” than their work on “Justice League International” and more in line with their “Defenders” mini series from a few years back. The duo present their characters succinctly and have made this book a decent starting point for new readers to enter into the many worlds of “Hero Squared,” as strange as they are.
My personal hang-up with this book is in the following fill-in the blank: “Giffen & DeMatteis and _________”. The blank should, in my opinion, be filled with Maguire, as he has become the Harpo to DeMatteis’ Groucho and Giffen’s Chico. But that’s my hang-up and I promise not to judge what’s-his-name — er, um, (flip, flip, flip) Nathan Watson — by Maguire-riffic standards. The art is serviceable. It’s great in some spots, overly-simplistic in others. The Kirby vacuum is a visual pun of incomparable mastery. Captain Valor’s death on the prior page is in need of some help — backgrounds, detail, something. Watson has great potential and proves his ability is worthy of sequential work in more instances than not, but he needs to strive for consistency. His style is reminiscent of Norm Breyfogle, and with the heavy reliance today’s artists place upon their colorists, a Breyfogle-ish style feels hollow. I’m sure that will smooth out a bit as the duo works together more.
This title offers a new and humorous twist upon the concept of multiverses, not to mention the challenges a multiverse could pose to beings capable of traversing distances between universes and the insane love triangles (Quadrangle? Rectangle? Square? Squared! I get it now!) that multiverses could spawn. This book, as mentioned earlier, seems tailor-made for a leap into other media, but for now, I’m content to enjoy it in the paper format that this universe has limited it to.
If you’re looking for a fix to fill that void that’s been sitting in your soul since “Justice League International” waved farewell to its unique brand of humor, this book might fall short. If you just need to spend that money in your pocket to help jumpstart our flagging economy, and don’t want to give it to either of the big two comics publishers, this book is your match made in heaven. Granted it may be heaven from a parallel universe, but you get what you get.