Hyperion #1

In Chuck Wendig and Nik Virella's "Hyperion" #1, a young runaway finds herself seeking the aid of a trucker who's just trying to make a break from his past life and make a quiet living, but the creepy gang coming after her force him to reveal his true self. The template for writer Wendig's story has been used as frequently as truck drivers use a major interstate highway, and it's the essential premise that kicks off Hyperion's new series. However, the creators succeed in giving the issue the dusty, pedestrian kind of vibe they're going for and make this protagonist from a destroyed world convincing as a character who's simply trying to keep his head down.

Wendig's story would work just the same if the central character were Wolverine, or Steve Rogers, or just about any other hero who has tried to hang up the spandex and just live a normal life. It doesn't read so much as a story that needs its lead to be this particular character; it reads like a stock story that's been sitting on the shelf awaiting a missed deadline. Although Wendig's story works fine using a dimensionally displaced superhero as the lead, it doesn't require one, and as such doesn't really come across as all that impressive a debut for the character in his own comic.

Virella's art is competent throughout, but he makes the story look a little too everyday. The creepy caravan of carnival criminals after young Doll look villainous enough, but they don't pose much of a threat to a character who was created as an analogue to Superman. The Family, as they're called, are the kind of sinister one might find in a PG-rated film. They come across like a group most people would just want to stay away from, but they just don't seem like a menace that would require superhero intervention.

Virella sometimes struggles with action scenes, few as they are in this issue. When Hyperion goes into action against the bad guys, his movements look stiff and sometimes awkward. When he finally appears in costume, he looks impressive enough, although the idea he even has his costume on him plays against Wendig's implied notion that Hyperion is trying to lie low. Virella does lay out one impressive scene in the midst of the issue, though, when the Family leaves their base to come after Doll.

Colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr.'s work is noticeable, but at times for the wrong reasons, due to some occasional inconsistencies; one of the very first pages is an unwelcome distraction, as Hyperion's civilian work boots change color from one panel to the next. It's a minor and forgivable lapse, but it's indicative of the overall feel of "Hyperion" #1: it reads like a passable filler story, but little else.

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