After I picked up the trade paperback that collected the first 6 issues of “H-E-R-O” BY WILL PFEIFFER & KANO, I ordered the remaining issues of the series, and have now read them all. Unfortunately, I have to say that the series didn’t quite live up to it’s potential. The initial premise was that this series would feature a continuing narrative exploring what happens when different people come in possession of the magical H-dial and show us how it affects their lives. That was what was portrayed in the first 6 issues, and it continued for the next several issues.
#7-8 has a group of young men who take turns using the dial to become superheroes and then film themselves using their new powers to goof off and do crazy stunts, ala “Jackass”, and then they put it online and become a successful show.
#9-10 a small-time criminal steals the dial and runs off to Gotham City and tries to use the device to become a criminal mastermind and start his own gang.
#11 is a single-issue story, told in flashbacks, where a caveman discovers the H-dial 50,000 years ago and becomes the world’s first superhero.
#12-14 has a man find the dial and transform into a super-powered woman, but he immediately loses the dial and gets stuck in that body. That story was particularly interesting.
Now, up to that point, the series was going great. It continued the quality that began in the first 6 issues, and I was enjoying it. If the series had continued in this vein, with a succession of short stories featuring new characters, I would have been happy.
However, this is when the series goes off track. From #15-22 it pretty much becomes one long continuing story. A subplot that had been building up in previous issues comes to the forefront. Robby Reed, the original owner of the H-dial is now an adult and is in prison. He eventually breaks out, using some unspecified powers that he possesses, and goes on a mission to track down the dial. A crazy villain gets a hold of the dial and begins tracking down all the previous users and murdering them. Robby teams up with Jerry, the kid from the first arc, who we find out also has residual powers from using the dial, to try to stop the villain. There’s lots of destruction and needless deaths. It’s all very morbid, and totally changes the tone of the series. This book really should have been much lighter, focusing on fun stories with an occasional break for something darker. The art doesn’t help either. Original artist Kano is eventually replaced by Leonard Kirk for a few issues, and then Dale Eaglesham finishes the series. None of their artwork really stands out to me, and I barely noticed the change in any of them. It’s just a shame, since I believe this concept still has such great potential and was off to a good start, but Pfeifer just didn’t make it work here.