Current Reviews


Hero Squared #5

Posted: Friday, March 2, 2007
By: Matthew McLean

"The Death of Captain Valor"

Writers: Keith Griffen, J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Jon Abraham

Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Whether itís The Chronicles of Narnia or Alice in Wonderland, the publishing world is full of stories of heroes and heroines crossing over some mystical or otherworldly boundary into a land of the fantastic. With Hero Squared BOOM! has put together a book where the opposite happens: a super-hero from a comic book-like world has crossed over into our mundane space. Naturally, it has consequences for the hero, Captain Valor, but this latest issue of Hero Squared focuses on exploring the effects such a thing might have on the (real) world at large. Not the least of which is that the good Captain Valor has brought his arch-nemesis (and former girlfriend) over with him.

All of this is a tremendous pain in the ass for Valor and his girlfriendís real world counterparts, Milo and Stephie. This fifth issue, however, deals with weightier issues than identity problems. Namely, it considers what would happen if one of those famous super-hero brawls were to actually occur in downtown Manhattan. Not surprisingly, a great deal of property damage and death ensue.

The latest issue of Hero Squared manages to strike a careful balancing act in this. On one hand, it treats the deaths of innocents with the seriousness such a thing deserves. Captain Valor, coming from a place where no one ever dies during such super-powered altercations, is emotionally broken by the experience. On the other hand (and I canít imagine how difficult this must have been for with writers), the comic book manages to take the situation and make it funny. Miloís handling of the police in the early interrogation scenes alone is worth more than a chuckle.

Hero Squaredís appeal comes from its lampooning just about every super-hero convention in existence. While this issue focuses mainly on the super-hero brawl, it also touches on the police, cloning, outer space headquarters, Stan Lee, TV shows, and, of course, villains.

Much of the humor in previous issues came from the personality conflict between Milo and his super-hero self. In this case, the funniest bits come from the villain (or ex), Caliginous. Caliginous (or Stephie as she prefers to be called) personifies that woman scorned that William Congreve warned you about. While the scenes with her are as funny as anything else in the book, it also leaves you with the impression that she is the most dangerous thing since Kim Jong Il. While Kim may have nuclear weapons, Caliginous has sex appeal. I canít say which is more dangerous.

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