“You either die a hero, or live long enough to become the villain”
A popular quote from a very popular film (I prefer Begins to be honest, but that’s a story for another time), that seems to fit this book, in a kind of roundabout way.
Twenty years after the death of The Hero, a young Lois Lane-alike, Laura Hasley, wants to write a story about her. You see, the city has forgotten all the good deeds and all the people The Hero saved and therefore by definition, the ideals for which she stood. Laura arranges to speak to one of the last people to see The Hero alive, the curmudgeon Miss Weller armed with nothing but the idea to bring The Hero, her Hero back, if at all possible.
Ricardo Sanchez chronicles The Hero’s last story be starting in the present, carefully laying out pieces of the puzzle to what at first glance is a stereotypical hero-worship story, albeit tinged with the slight odour of failure. The confrontations and conversations between Laura and Miss Weller are simply outstanding, the nuance of implication played out beautifully, where no passing comment is left as an aside. Every word counts.
Comic veteran Mark Texeria is on art duties. The last time I saw Texeria’s work was on Wolverine, with over stretched torso’s and heavy inks. If this is also your recollection, then boy, you are in for a surprise. The art is this book is gorgeous. From the painted look to the elements of the past and all the way to the present, there is only way to describe it. Breath-taking. The art has an odd 70’s feel to it, which works well. Texeria’s characters run the gauntlet of every emotion, which he captures brilliantly. I don’t think I have been as pleasantly surprised by a book in quite a while.
In addition to the comic book element, there are a couple of text pieces, that add color and context to The Hero, which are worth a read.
So back to the quote at the top of the page and its relevance – the first part is quite clear, The Hero died a hero to a lot of people, including Laura, despite the fact that there is always someone around to knock a hero’s, any hero’s, work. As for the latter part of the quote, I will leave it there for you to think about, than other to say “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do” is not always how heroes can be defined.