"A World Made of Glass"
Writer: Will Pfeifer
Publisher: DC Comics
Continuing a crime spree by using the H.E.R.O. Dial, small-time Gotham City criminal Tony Finch furthers his ambitions to become the “greatest supervillain of them all!” Meanwhile in a looming subplot, Silver Age H.E.R.O. Dial user Robby Reed is notified he will be moved from his current lockup to the meta-human prison Iron Heights. For a guy with no known superpowers, Reed doesn’t seem too worried about the prospect of being jailed with Keystone City’s most dangerous criminals.
This issue proves the parable about watching what you wish for… you just might get it. That being said, the conclusion of H-E-R-O #10 is prophetic. Tony Finch always bragged about his abilities as a criminal mastermind, a boast that ran him afoul of the Joker. Years later, dumb luck has given Finch the opportunity to wipe away his humiliation at the hands of the Joker’s goons and a threat from a pistol wielded by the Ace of Knaves. True to form, Finch’s ego gets the better of him and he is finally recognized for the criminal mastermind that he thinks he is, but not in a way he expected.
H-E-R-O is a title that not enough people are reading (less than 16,000 issues a month), and because it focuses on a thing instead of an individual I don’t expect that to change much. That aside, Pfeifer and Kano deliver another strong story in a short string of character-driven tales. Given that almost all the characters in H-E-R-O are unknown, Pfeifer’s talents as a writer shine in his ability to make you care about them. In many respects they are like all of us and easy to relate to, certainly easier than Superman or Batman.
Kano’s art is “edgy” and has the feel of an independent or Vertigo title. This may work against him in a mainstream book, but DC has shown that it is willing to give an independent art style a chance in many of its street-level mainstream titles. Only time will tell if DC’s gamble on books like H-E-R-O will pay off. It has worked for me. JD Mettler’s colors are muted and he often worked this issue in primarily mono-chromatic hues, which compliments Kano’s art and the mood of Pfeifer’s script. It reminds me of the way Wildstorm FX’s mono-chromatic colors complimented Greg Kucka’s Detective Comics a few years back.
This is a great issue and a title that deserves a chance to tell the stories beneath the surface of the DC Universe. Issue eleven will be a standalone story and I advise anyone with an extra $2.50 in their pocket to give it a try.
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