Writer: Anthony Ruttgaizer
Artist: Phillip Sevy
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
Synopsis: In an alternate universe ordinary people become “Extrahuman” when they manifest unusual and fantastic abilities. The new found powers have a drawback however; every Extrahuman to date has eventually gone insane. Jarhead Jake Roth has just discovered his new powers and has to learn on the fly how to cope with them and their consequences.
First Hero #1 a new book from Action Lab Comics, continues the tradition of the ostracized specials that we’re familiar with from titles like Straczynski’s “Rising Stars” and of course the perennially oppressed “X-Men”.
The feel of the book, at least in the opening pages is very similar to Watchmen however, in that we find ourselves smack dab in the midst of a “material” 80′s-like era (complete with a Reagan administration!) as legislation authorizing the use of deadly force is passed in order to deal with the Extrahuman threat. Press conferences are held and a paramilitary team, The Extrahuman Task Force, is dispatched. Predictably, chaos and overall lawlessness in regard to Extrahuman affairs ensues.
It’s all fairly familiar territory as we switch locations and perspectives to Afghanistan and Marine Jake Roth, a short-timer looking to rotate back home to the “World”. The character at this early stage of development is pretty one-dimensional, as he tears through unnamed bad guys one fist at a time. And that’s OK for right now. The audience needs to know that Jake, for the most part, is a guy we can root for if nothing else and Ruttgaizer does a pretty good job of letting us feel out the fiber of his fabric in that regard.
The artwork definitely has a classic feel to it, lots of deep shadows and cross-hatching, which adds to the overall moodiness of the panels. Ruttgaizer and Sevy have a knack for depicting harrowing action sequences at a truly break-neck pace. All in all the book has potential, even if the first issue doesn’t quite light the fire that it sets out to ignite.
By Adam Cadmon
Follow Adam on Twitter: @K1NG_OF_J4CKS