Writers: J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen
Artist: Joe Abraham
Publisher: Boom! Studios
“Oh, sure, you’ve seen clone stories before—and they’ve all sucked. But believe us when we tell you that this clone story—sucks less!” is the asterisk comments attached to the title of Hero Squared’s "Clone Saga!" issue. The team of Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Joe Abraham continue to take their book further down unexpected roads. Not only does it continue to be funny, but the characters, even when they’re larger than life satires of super heroes, have real emotional development.
Caliginous has cloned Eustace while Milo films Stephie picking up dog poop with a better looking man. The clone attacks Eustace while he is trying to give Milo advice on what to do about Stephie. As Eustace battles Valor-Clone, Milo tries to remind Eustace that there are innocent bystanders getting hurt. Only after the battle is over, does Eustace realize that this world is different from his home world, and people other than the ones fighting get hurt as well. After destroying a good chunk of a city block, Eustace defeats the defective Valor-Clone and the police arrest both Eustace and Milo.
Where the aforementioned unexpected roads comes into play is in how little dialogue there is in this issue. Granted, it’s more than some comics, but compared to Giffen and DeMatteis’s book-thick comics which have been more-so since they started their second try on Hero Squared. This issue starts out much the same, thick with exposition where the characters poke fun at each other, but once the clone fight breaks out, it slims down as if they still write for DC.
There are three full page panels, not including the splash page, and three pages with no dialogue, not including other silent spots in the book. Abraham reminds fans that he can do more then just draw dramatically funny faces, which still are prevalent right from the second page. While the one-on-one fighting between Eustace and Clone-Valor isn’t anything special, it is on par with the better artists in the big two, but what this issue focuses on and where Abraham sets himself above the pack is with the destruction created in the background by the fight going on. A shout out must also be given to colorist Ron Riley for making the scenes feel desolate towards the end. This is art better than the par of other “indie” comics.
The idea of a wide range of emotions in comics, and most media, seems almost to be avoided. Yet many of the great comics are strong because they have that pathos. Hero Squared is funny, sad, and dramatic with the action expected of a comic book. Its only drawback is that it’s not the kind of humor that everyone likes.
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