Written and drawn by Bryan Hitch
Published by Image Comics
Previously: Real Heroes #3
I have to be honest and say that, as of yesterday, I wasn’t planning to get this issue. Bryan Hitch has a history of lateness which usually keeps me from buying his projects, at least not in single issues. If it’s interesting I’ll wait for the trade. So I waited on Real Heroes, but when I saw that the first three issues came out pretty regularly (I think there was a two-month wait in-between the first and the second issue, but third came out a month later) I went ahead and bought all three the same day and read them. And I enjoyed it. But now it’s been five frakkin’ months since that third issue. So I just said, forget, I’m done with this series. But then I saw an article yesterday saying that is number 4 coming out today, but number 5 will be out next week. So I reconsidered. Hopefully I won’t regret this with another long wait until the 6th and final issue. We’ll see. So, was the wait worth it?
In a word: OH HECK YEAH!
Okay, that’s three words. Whatever.
Unfortunately I’m a bit stuck here, as I really can’t say all that much about what I love about this issue without spoiling everything, which I do not want to do. We open with Jeremy and Nichola still onboard the Olympians’ flying HQ, The Pantheon, monitoring the destruction around the country. Leo is still in L.A., but rushes out when a massive Earthquake caused by the Devastators destroys California, sending most of the state sinking into the pacific ocean. Chris is in New York, with this universe’s version of his father, who is still alive here. In this world, it was Danny’s mother who died in 9/11. While Danny is in a bar in New York, with some local ex-military men who think he’s the real Patriot and are mad at him for not saving the world. Meanwhile, the Devastators are now attacking New York, attempting to cause a similar earthquake there and send that state into the ocean, too.
This is where the huge PLOT TWIST comes in. That’s what I refuse to spoil. But through this issue we get the background on the original Olympians, find out the true nature of Brainchild and his relationship to the Devastators and the mutant monsters the team faced last issue. Let’s just say that in addition to the real world actors, many people in this alternate world aren’t exactly who they appear to be. And in the end it becomes apparent that this world is due to be FUBAR (frakked up beyond all recognition) and basically the team has to make the choice whether to just escape back to the safety of their own world or stay her and become…dare I say it…REAL HEROES?
Color me impressed. Yes, I knew that Bryan Hitch was a masterful artist, and that talent is on full display in the pages of this book, but he is turning out to be far better writer than I expected. I would never have guessed that this is his first writing gig if I hadn’t known. There issue is heavy on exposition as the history is explained through dialog but it never once feels forced, it all flows naturally, and he manages to add in just the right of action to keep the story moving forward. I highly recommend this issue and this series.
Edited to Add: I saw Hitch on Twitter saying #5 is due “in a few weeks,” not next week. That’s a shame. Still glad I got this issue, though!
Do you know what happened to issues 5 and 6? They were on Image Comics’ schedule until late June 2015 and then they just… disappeared?
Unfortunately, no. Looks like my initial instincts about Hitch were correct. He’s known for being extremely slow. And now he’s writing and drawing a new Justice League series for DC, the first issue of which came out last month, so who knows if Real Heroes will ever even be finished? I wouldn’t hold my breath for it.