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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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12/09/2007 Archived Entry: "Comics review: Heroes, Volume One"

Heroes, Volume One
By Various authors and artists
Published by Wildstorm

Review by Logan

I watched Heroes religiously last year. Unfortunately now that Heroes isn't on iTunes, I haven't kept up with the this season's episodes. The only reason for this is that watching episodes on is a horrible experience.

Imagine my delight, then, in being able to dive into the world of Heroes in a completely different way. DC Comics recently released it's first print collection of the web comics. Because I had never followed the web comics, I was looking forward to reading these new Heroes stories. I tried reading the first web comic online, but just didn't find the online experience to be satisfying. There's something altogether different and satisfying about reading them in a printed book, though!

The trade is a nice hard-bound book with stunning artwork on the jacket. All of the first season characters are depicted in a beautiful collage. The only unfortunate artistic renderings are Claire (Hayden Panetierre) and Peter (Milo Ventimiglia). Peter looks fat and Claire casts an out-of-character ominous look.

Inside, the art is every bit as fun and interesting as the cover artwork. The art style is imprecise and playful. It's also rich and vivid, with strong, bold outlines. I'm a fan of this particular type of comic art. Micah Gunnell is one of the artists who pencilled a number of the web comic episodes that I liked. I really dig his style. Check out his sketch diary here.

Although I liked a few of the stories, many of them felt frivolous. The stories that give a tiny glimpse into the off-screen adventures of the main characters felt hastily conceived. These one-offs bored me a little bit, and I stalled reading the volume in a few places because of this.

There were two story arcs that were riveting. The first was the story of how Mr. Linderman and Mr. Petrelli (father to Nathan and Peter) came to know each other. As youngsters, the two men were appointed to a special mission during the Vietnam war. Petrelli learns about Linderman's ability to heal living things. Their mission is fraught with surprises and tension. They part in bad blood as Linderman denies his powers, causing Petrelli to seem like a lunatic to his superiors. Years later, the men reunite and discuss joining together and making great sacrifices to save the world.

This was a nice glimpse into the past. It gives us more information on how all the members of the secretive group of elders (The Petrellis, Linderman, Hiro's Dad, etc.) are all connected. There's still clearly more to learn, but at least now we have an interesting piece of the historical puzzle. (I expect that when I catch up with this season, more of that puzzle will be revealed.)

The Petrelli/Linderman story is actually contained within my favorite story arc about a brand new character. Hana is an amazing hero who has the power to read, track, send, and receive any type of wireless or digital signal, using only her brain. Thus her code name: Wireless. The art is fantastic throughout these episodes. I love how the artist draws the wireless streams of information saturating the air like translucent rainbow currents. The story is also really well integrated into Season One. It's clear that Hana plays an unseen role in much of Mr. Bennet's plans to bring down the mysterious Paper Factory. Besides having an amazing ability for harnessing wireless signals, Hana also has extreme physical strength and endurance. In the end, Hana meets a technology that she can't hack into. Ultimately she sacrifices her life to carry out her mission and stop this technology from being used by the Paper Factory. I felt that Hana's character was the most compelling and vibrant within the Heroes universe. It's too bad she wasn't included in the TV show.

Overall I really enjoyed Heroes, Volume One. I'm looking forward to reading the Second Volume too!

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