Review: Strange Heroes #1
Bill Willingham is one of the best creator owned writers. Everything he touches seems to turn to gold. His new effort, Strange Heroes, is an odd title that is more anthology than ongoing. But the two titles end up needing more room.
Willingham’s first story is one about a guy Tommy and a cat named Master Corenlius. It quickly turns into a Harry Potter type of situation, where Tommy is the only one who can save day. Not the worst way to start a story, but it doesn’t work here. The reader is coming in with no knowledge of what is going on, so we are scrambling to figure out what is going on. While not revealing everything to the reader is a good move, this is a little much. Knowing this little ends up being a turn off, and I’m not invested in the ongoing adventures of Tommy. Future issues could turn this around, but for now it’s a no. Another page or two and this story would have been winner. Willingham’s penchant for humor is there. Kelsey Shannon’s artwork is suitable. The black and white look is good, but I feel like a colored story would work better. The white walls make it seem like Tommy and Corenlius haven’t moved since the first panel. Comparing Tommy’s costume on the cover to the interior makes the black and white look worse.
The other story involves Mary Arevalo crash landing and being chased by a dinosaur. She eventually finds a Tarzan like character, and they meet. Yeah, pretty simple story. We know nothing about her, other than she knows someone named Juan. This story ends up failing to make a splash due to the short nature of the story. We know nothing of Mary, except she knows someone named Juan who just died in the plane crash. The Tarzan like character on the last page seems to make this a……well Tarzan like story. It doesn’t set itself apart from any number of George of the Jungle or Kazar stories that have been told. The black and white doesn’t work, again. Bobby Diaz’s art looks better than Shannon’s art, but it still has problems. Once the fight with the dinosaur starts, it’s impossible to tell where the two are in relation to the scenery. Mary is expressive though, and Diaz conveys the terror in her eyes well.
Strange Heroes is quite strange (pun intended). Willingham has two great ideas, but decided to squish them into one book. If the book had been oversized, these stories would have worked. I’m not sure if the market would be able to sustain these two titles on their own, as Willingham’s name can’t do all the heavy lifting.
Strange Heroes is available on comiXology via there Submit section.
Strange Heroes #1 gets 3/5.