If you were to judge Joshua Carver, the protagonist of No Hero #1, from the cover, you'd probably think you were dealing with a sadistic sociopath. And maybe you are. But, as usual with an Ellis story, it's not that simple and readers can look forward to a story of deep characterizations, plot intricacies and interesting ideas.
If you missed issue #0 of No Hero you may feel a bit left out as the story opens, but attentive readers will be able to catch on quickly. Carrick Masterson, genius extraordinaire, started an organization of super-humans called the Levellers in San Francisco late in the '60s. Since then members have come and gone and the Levellers have become the Front Line. Except someone with a dangerous level of knowledge about Masterson's super-humans has started killing them.
That's an interesting enough plot that only becomes more intriguing when you throw in Ellis' characters. Masterson, in this issue and the preceding one, espouses noble platitudes, but comes across more like Lex Luthor than Reed Richards. He's jealously guarded the secret to his super-human drug, even shows a willingness to kill to protect it, and enjoys what is an obviously lavish lifestyle. The latter being fine until you start running over bodies in the street with your humvee limousine. Plus, there's the fact that he hasn't seemed to age in the last forty years.
Joshua Carver is a young man that is so focused that he's alienated everyone in his life. It would seem his sole purpose is to attract Masterson's attention in order to be recruited into the Front Line. While Carver's real motivations are still a mystery, it would seem he's got a bit more humanity left in him than he might suspect, which could definitely make for some interesting conflict later on.
Besides the big mystery of who's murdering Masterson's minions, there are little details like the unrevealed individual who helps Masterson decide the next Front Line recruit(s) and another that begins looking for Carver after he goes missing. All of this is lovingly wrapped up in Ellis usual level of research and detail.
The only downside to the book is that at $3.99 it doesn't feel like you're getting much more of a book than the 99 cent zero issue. However, that may speak to the value of the #0 issue rather than anything else. Regardless, Joshua Carver's entrance into the Front Liners should make a good read for anyone looking for a different bend on the super-hero genre.
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