Boom! 2: Hero Squared, Planetary Brigade, GI Spy, others

(This follows from the first part of my Boom! coverage.)

Aside from monster books, Boom! has been tackling two other main types of comics: men’s adventure and superhero humor. With the latter, Hero Squared has a special, a three-issue miniseries, and soon, an ongoing series written by the team of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, best known for the frat-style humor of Justice League.

Hero Squared: X-Tra Sized Special cover

Slacker Milo is having trouble dealing with his alternate-world self Captain Valor. His girlfriend Stephie causes more tension between the two, since in the Captain’s universe, she’s the world’s greatest supervillain. It’s very dialogue-driven, to the extent that I sometimes had to remember to go back and pay attention to the pictures (art is by Joe Abraham). They’re not key to the series, beyond telling us who’s talking when, but the expressions are amusingly exaggerated to make clear the moods of the text.

Milo is fannish self-loathing made flesh, making fun of superheroes to cover his insecurity. He’s fearful of losing his girlfriend, a woman that seems too nice for him, to someone who’s clearly superior to him in most ways. He takes out his jealousy through bitter sarcasm, the only weapon he has. Ironically, his defensive attitude is only more likely to bring about the outcome he’s trying to prevent.

Without previously familiar characters, the humor can seem more strained and meaner than I’d like. Good parts of it, mainly establishing the history of the heroes, I even found boring. The blend of funny and action is a tricky mix to get right and keep consistent. The miniseries also has a lack of resolution that’s offputting if you’re not interested in following the upcoming series.

Planetary Brigade #1 cover

Planetary Brigade is a two-issue miniseries by the same writers and a mix of artists that gets closer to their well-regarded previous work by virtue of being a superhero team book, but I thought there were too many characters to care about following any of them. Combined with a distinct lack of laughs and a reliance on stereotypes, that makes this short series skippable.

Moving back to the adventure comics, I’ve looked at GI Spy, a fun read (written by Andrew Cosby and illustrated by Matt Haley) about a James Bond-type in World War II. How can you not enjoy an all-American good guy and his beautiful partner fighting Nazis? Unfortunately, the one issue is sold out, and there’s been no word about what the “To Be Continued” at the end might refer to.

Jeremiah Harm isn’t for me, since I no longer read serious work by Keith Giffen. I’m not interested in the promised “gritty tone and brutal anti-hero”, but Lobo fans might be interested in seeing him work again with scripter Alan Grant.

Last, blending the two approaches, there’s What Were They Thinking?, in which Giffen and Mike Leib write new dialogue over classic war and science fiction comic art. It seems like a cheap gag to me, and a quick flip makes it look like they’re spilling out words just to fill space.

In conclusion, I’m not the target audience for many of their titles, but I’m glad they’re out there. Their smart growth shows that it’s still possible for a new publisher who acts sensibly to make it.

One Response to “Boom! 2: Hero Squared, Planetary Brigade, GI Spy, others”

  1. Superhero Photocomic » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] to the beginning. The effect on page 17 (maybe 18) is really nifty, while the plot looks a lot like Hero Squared. […]




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