The F1rst Hero #1
Still available to order for a few more days is the first issue of a new miniseries from Action Lab Entertainment.
The F1rst Hero is planned for four issues, beginning in August. It’s written by Anthony Ruttgaizer and drawn by Phillip Sevy. There are two cover choices, both by artists who aren’t doing interiors; the Lee Moder cover will be $3.99 for 32 pages (order with Diamond code JUN14 0756), and the Jamal Igle (limited to 1500 copies, which strikes me as ambitious for an indy superhero comic; code JUN14 0757) is priced at $4.99.
The publisher provided a digital advance review copy. The concept, as described, sounded pretty interesting. Here’s the publisher’s description:
The entire world knows the stark reality: everyone who manifests superpowers goes insane and becomes a threat to society. So, when Jake Roth develops superpowers but somehow keeps his sanity, he must decide whether to put himself at risk by using his powers to help people or do nothing and save himself while innocent people around him get hurt.
Unfortunately, the first issue doesn’t, in my opinion, accurately reflect the description. Instead, it’s mostly the story of a soldier in Afghanistan. There’s a sniper, a prisoner situation, and plenty of violence, all overlaid with a generic self-focused (“you can do it”) monologue. There’s no helping others, unless you want to start talking about the validity of U.S. military activities in the Middle East, and that’s more depth than I feel this comic deserves.
War comics aren’t my favorite, but some of them can be done well. However, I was put off by expecting a different twist on the usual superhero work but instead getting something in another genre, told in mediocre fashion. The first few pages, the ones that set up the powers = insanity premise, would have been better attached to different content. Or perhaps this is just the latest example of how people feel they have to start comic series with origin stories, even when other material would be more compelling or a better read. Once we saw the lead dealing with the promised challenge, we might have cared more about flashing back to his soldier days and his first discovery of his abilities.
For the first of four issues, I don’t even feel that I have a good handle on what’s going on. I don’t know why the lead became a soldier or what he wants to do (other than “not go crazy”, which isn’t the most sympathetic motive) or even exactly what his powers are.