Heroes Omission

In last week’s Entertainment Weekly, there was a goofy one-page writeup on Heroes, the new NBC TV show. It compares some of the characters to comic book heroes with similar abilities.

EW Heroes page

Cute idea for a puff piece, right? Except one thing jumped out at me as soon as I looked at the page … why are the only people who don’t get writeups the dark-skinned men? It just seemed strange to omit them so obviously when they’re prominent in the group picture.

I also noticed that no DC heroes were included, and no female comic characters. The five comparisons were Dr. Manhatten, Hulk, Angel, Wolverine, and Daredevil. I don’t watch the show, but that last one seems like a stretch. Aren’t there a ton of other characters you could compare a telepath to who actually have telepathy?

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23 Responses to “Heroes Omission”

  1. wilybobcat Says:

    The powers of those dark-skinned men haven’t really been revealed yet. Suresh might not have any powers, the bald guy’s power isn’t really nailed down. It could be that whoever wrote the article wasn’t allowed to give anything away, and they didn’t have a picture without these men.

    But yeah, comparing Matt Parkman with Daredevil is just stupid.

    On a side note, you should watch the show. It’s pretty awesome.

  2. Jones Says:

    “no DC heroes”

    Isn’t Watchmen a DC book? Isn’t Dr. Manhatten a hero from Watchmen?

  3. Johanna Says:

    Watchmen is published by DC, but it’s not part of the DC universe, and the characters are based on old Charlton properties.

    wbc, that’s a charitable interpretation, thank you for the additional background.

  4. Barry Says:

    I found the show to be cliched and boring so I didn’t bother to watch past the first episode.

    And yeah, that EW piece was pretty badly done.

  5. Jer Says:

    Don’t let anyone fool you – the show is very cliched. If you’re expecting originality, you will be disappointed.

    It is not, however, boring. The first two episodes moved a bit slowly (though not as slowly as some other serialized dramas I could name), but the pace on the last two eps has really picked up steam. It actually feels like they’re going to let things happen to the characters.

    As for the EW piece – Suresh doesn’t have any powers, so there’s no one to compare him to power-wise. As a character he seems to be in the mold of Professor X or Niles Caulder – the scientist type seeking out those with powers. The other guy hasn’t even shown up on the show yet. The rumor mill has it that he has phasing powers a la Kitty Pryde.

    Some of their selections are iffy at best. This must have been written before they revealed that Nathan has a power-copying power like Mimic from the Silver Age X-men books. Phoenix or Professor X would have been a better fit for the telepathic cop than Daredevil (WTH?) and I’m beginning to think that Niki may be more like Morrison’s Crazy Jane than the Hulk, but I suppose we’ll see on that one.

  6. Dan Says:

    You read E.W.????? My respect for you has just fallen dramatically.

    (Kidding of course.)

  7. Kelson Says:

    @Jer: Just a nitpick: it’s actually Peter who has the mimic powers (my first thought was Rogue, without the draining aspect). Nathan’s the smarmy one.

  8. John Says:

    Can someone explain why Heroes is ‘cliched’? I mean, is there any idea within the subject of super powers that hasn’t been covered somewhere before?

    The show deals with ‘old’ subjects in a new way, is fast paced, keeps you on the edge of your seat, is full of wonderful humour while at the same time revealing dark, dark subject matter.

    Like a comic book, we actually learn something with every page we turn, unlike other shows that keep us Lost, where the writers confuse mystery with not telling the audience anything at all.

    Much like The Incredibles, I didn’t want to like this, but I do. It’s damn fine entertainment.

    As for the article, I haven’t seen it so I can’t comment. Sounds typical, though.

    Cheers, JOHN :0)

  9. Anun Says:

    I’m enjoying it for what it is, but heads up — Jeph Loeb is an executive producer and sometimes writer on this show, so there’s that to keep in mind depending on how you like his writing these days. And more importantly, the two main powered female characters have already been threatened with sexual assault. In….three episodes. The fourth episode kinda made up for that somewhat, but I rolled my eyes so hard, they nearly got stuck looking at my brain.

  10. Michael G Says:

    I’d compare Niki to Rose & Thorn (split personality, one stronger and more vicious than the other), Suresh to the Niles Caulder (non-powered leader/mentor), and Matt to Saturn Girl (telepath). The black bald guy appears to be like Parasite (ability to drain powers). There’s also the artist guy (Destiny of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants) and Sylar, who appears to have some pretty strong telekinesis (British Psylocke maybe).

    Don’t know if Niki’s son or Suresh’s friend have any powers we don’t know about yet.

  11. Johanna Says:

    John, you can click on the thumbnail and see the whole article. It’s mostly readable, and I apologize for not scanning it better.

    Anun, yeah, the two women being a stripper and a cheerleader and all that I’ve heard about the sexual assualt threats means that I’m just not interested in sampling the show. I’m looking to cut back on TV, not add more.

  12. Lyle Says:

    John, I think, overall Heroes inspires a “been there” feeling amongst superhero comic readers. I expect that would be hard to avoid since there have been so many comics that try to take superheroes into new, “realistic” territory. I think it’s been a while since there’s been a superhero who can just fly (and Angel can has a few more abilities than flight) or since a precog has gotten so much screen time… hm, I just realized they used a picture without Santiago.

    Comparing Milo V with Angel might further the idea that the feature erred on the side of non-spoilage since the show initially hinted that both brothers could fly and the idea of him as having mimic powers has only been suggested.

    One of my initial reactions to the show was that passive powers usually reserved for female characters were given to the guys and that got me thinking about these comparisons — with Greg Grunber’s character the first superhero I think of is Saturn Girl (maybe because in one incarnation she meant to train to be in the Science Police) and with Santiago I think of Destiny. I wonder if the EW feature writer didn’t want to be comparing any of the guys to women, but felt okay comparing the women to male superheroes.

  13. Jer Says:

    John -

    Heroes is cliched precisely because it is hard to deal with the topic (supers in the “real world”) in ways that haven’t been seen before AND still have it connect with folks who are not already fans of the genre. Incredibles actually overcame this and managed to give some new insight into the “superteam as dysfunctional family” setup – something that impressed me to no end because I wasn’t sure that there actually was anything new to say about that dynamic. Heroes is going over ground that has been well-trod in superhero comics for a long time, but that’s actually okay because its not being written for superhero fans but for a mass TV audience, and going with the cliche is not a bad thing if the majority of your audience is unfamiliar with the cliche.

    Lyle -

    I meant to comment on this idea of passive powers over at your blog. I like the insight – I hadn’t really thought of it before other than to think about the fact that Claire has the “scrapper” power for whatever team is getting built. The idea that most of the guys have passive powers slipped right by me — the only one with an active power is Hiro, right? And his power is off the scale in comparison with any of the rest of them.

  14. Marionette Says:

    I can’t read the text of the article, but I can hazard a guess why the Daredevil comparison – the writer watched episode 3 but didn’t understand it. In that episode the cop finds the little girl, saying that he could hear her somehow, even though closer people could not. The writer has taken this at face value and compares it to Daredevil’s super-sensitive hearing.

  15. hcduvall Says:

    Jer-

    I think that’s it. Heroes has been hit or miss amongst the superhero comic reading crowd (thogh they’re prone to supporting it out of habit). Lots of its Rising Stars or New Universe or whatever comments, but then again it’s not directed to that crowd, and appears to be a success there. Same sort of reaction, at least among my friends, as with Smallville. The comic-buying sort though, is never the largest target.

    As a sidenote, I thought the Incredibles was riffing the Fantastic Four myself. Except with more kids.

  16. Chris Galdieri Says:

    HEROES survives on our schedule thanks to Hiro, whose delight in his powers must have snuck by the folks making the show otherwise gloomy, and Adrian Pasdar, who’s just plain fun to watch. But I just don’t see how they can make this work in the long-term. Also, the narration is awful in a so-bad-it’s-bad-way. I keep expecting the narrator to warn Eddie Murphy to stay away from the Laker Girls…

  17. Ed Sizemore Says:

    Chris, I agree Hiro is the star of the show for me. His enthusiasm and optimism are both refreshing and infectious. I also enjoy being able to watch a show about mutants without the Marvel baggage. Its easy to see which superhero each character is modeled on, but that doesn’t take away from the appeal of the show. Instead it reminds me of how much can still, and hasn’t been, done in exploring mutant heroes. I do hope this is a limited run show. I want the current story line to come to a definite end and for the show not to become a soap opera with mutant powers.

  18. Michael Denton Says:

    I find Heroes very entertaining, although, yes, very familiar. But, for me, it’s the best approximation of a comic on TV that I’ve probably seen. The plot twists keep me riveted even if most of the heroes are “stock” roles.

    When/where was it revealed that Peter has mimic powers? That’s a spoiler to me unless I totally missed something on the show.

    And if the unnamed black man is the one seen on the show (and it’s not clear to me whether he is supposed to be Sylar or not) aiding Claire’s evil father, then it looks like he is a strong telepath, not a power drainer.

    Niki definitely makes me think of Crazy Jane from Doom Patrol.

    Hiro is a delight, although clearly big changes are in store for him.

    OK, someone please fill me in on when this info about Peter was revealed.

  19. Lyle Says:

    Jer, the thought of passive powers has been on my mind since Ragnell’s post about wanting to see females with kick ass powers, that got me thinking that part of the reason why I’ve always found superheroines more interesting are that I find passive (or, maybe, indirect is a better term) powers more interesting. I’ve always liked the idea of Mysa Nal taking out a Khund by turning his weaponry into a bridal boquet than in seeing Mon-El punch him out.

    Hiro reminds me of the Scarlet Witch, now. That’s partly because of the writing challenge he poses due to the potential of his power.

    Michael, I think Peter’s powers haven’t been confirmed yet but he commented in the last episode that he could only fly when Nathan was around.

  20. Jer Says:

    Chris -

    I hold out hope that the gloom will lighten up a bit. I know that’s probably unlikely, since Heroes is less gloomy than a lot of the dramas on TV at the moment — folks seem to think that if you’re more lighthearted than CSI or Law and Order you’re writing a comedy nowadays. I think that there’s a good chance that more of them are going to be enjoying their powers more as time goes on.

    There are hints of this in the latest episode – Nathan really wants to fly but he knows it will kill his career, Peter is dying to understand his powers, Isaac is ready to jump back into the drugs if it can give him the vision he needs to be a hero, etc.

    Of course, in the latest episode we see that countered by Hiro being a little less happy-go-lucky and a little more grim, so who knows how things will turn out.

  21. Barry Says:

    I scanned through the last episode just to look at some of the stuff people are talking about here and one of the questions I have is: Does the Cheerleader not feel pain? When she’s ‘hurt’, she doesn’t seem to feel anything more than mild discomfort. I don’t know about you, but when I get a paper cut I cry like a baby. And having just recently fracturing my hand, lemme tell you, that sucker hurts! She’s been set on fire, mangled her hand and had her chest ripped open. You’d think that would kinda really, really hurt, no?

  22. Kelson Says:

    @Michael: Peter can fly, but only when he’s around his brother. He can also draw the future, but only when he’s around Isaac. And when future-Hiro stopped time for everyone else, he could interact with him (although that could just be future-Hiro having finer control of his powers).

    They haven’t come out and said it (probably because the character hasn’t figured it out), but it’s pretty clear from episode 4.

  23. Michael Denton Says:

    Kelson, yes, it is obvious from that episode, but the first time we saw Peter drawing the future around Isaac was this most recent (10/23) episode. Jer wrote that comment on 10/18 (and you are mentioning it on 10/20).

    Are people getting episodes on a different schedule in different parts of the country? or are people downloading future episodes?

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