Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Drawn by Gordon Purcell
This is the 2nd superhero title from Staczynski’s creator-owned imprint Joe’s Comics (via Image Comics). Following SIDEKICK, which I have been reading, and am mostly enjoying. However, I can’t really say the same for this series.
The premise is that during World War 2 an American soldier was suddenly struck on the battlefield by some kind of flashing light, or possibly a meteor, from the sky. This gave him super powers which he immediately began using to fight the German soldiers. Adopting a costume he called himself THE PATRIOT and helped America win the war. Afterwards, back in America a bunch of other men and women with super powers emerged, it says around 50, and they all became super heroes too, fighting crime and protecting people. No other super people emerged in any other countries, just America, and none of them became supervillains, so it’s just the heroes, who seem to remain young and continue to operate to this day. It notes that most of the people who gained powers were already rich, but as the years went on, most of them became celebrities, with endorsement deals and paid public appearances, etc. Except for The Patriot, who remained a public servant until he just disappeared 10 years ago.
Currently, the remaining heroes each operate in the major cities of America, many have special deals with the local governments to officially represent the cities, and help drive tourism. With no supervillains, occasionally the heroes fight each other, but never cause serious damage, and people watch like a spectator sport and root for the hero of their town, like it’s pro-wrestling. And that’s where we are today. There’s a couple of subplots, we see a CIA agents escorting a man, apparently some kind of criminal, to Washington D.C.. Their car breaks down in the middle of the street in some city, and then they’re both surprised by a big flash of light. And we see three friends, a man and two women, hanging out at night. When one of the women leaves, she also sees a flash of light as she’s trying to get to her car. And when the man goes after her to give her her phone, which she forgot, he just finds her purse laying on the ground next to her car, but she’s nowhere to be found.
I guess this is supposed to be some major mystery, what happened to the woman, as well as why did The Patriot go away, but I just wasn’t drawn into this. The superheroes all appeared to be very bland, both in their costume designs and their names (The Patriot, Shrike, Lady Justice, The Angel…and so on). Of course I could be grossly misjudging them, and they could have way more character depth than it appears right now, but for a first issue of a brand new creator-owned series, it needs to be much more compelling to make me want to take the effort (& spend the money) to stick around for future issues to find out. The writing didn’t do that. Gordon Purcell’s artwork was fine, I don’t have real complaints about it, but it wasn’t good enough to make up for the bland writing. Therefor I don’t have any reason or interest in continuing this series.