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Less Than Hero #1 to #3

Posted: Wednesday, March 24, 2004
By: Craig Lemon



Writer: Jason McNamara
Artist: Tony Talbert

Publisher: Polite Strangers (www.politestrangers.com)

Mark is involved in a serious car crash but doesn’t remember any of the prelude to it. Jessica is his girlfriend and he’s determined that the problems they had in their relationship before the crash – none of which he remembers – will not affect the future…except she’s pregnant by someone else. I think he’s The Punk too….more on this later.

Brett is a failed stand-up comedian, a gay man pretending to be straight on the club circuit, but it’s just not working out for him – the problem is, he’s just not funny.

The Sleeper is a criminal with a great power – he can make people go to sleep all around him, and then take over their bodies, make them sleepwalk and rob banks (for example) or worse (in the case of his secretary) and they don’t remember a thing when they wake.

Harry is an old geezer with a stump leg, a colostomy bag and a shedload of problems – not the least of which is finally losing his virginity to a ladyboy…

Don and Adam are brothers, they’d do anything for each other like sell their treasured stuff for a song when bail is needed…but sell it to themselves…Don is Mark’s best friend.

The Punk is a “superhero”, powers not completely defined, yet he’s more interested in drinking or lighting up than in actually fighting crime – as the cover to #1 quite nicely depicts. His costume looks to have been ripped off a dead guy, the leader of a cult who was buried in a sealed chamber so when he returned from gaining universal knowledge he’d have a form to return too…whoops. His widow, Sasha, ain’t none too happy…

Such is our busy cast for this series, there’s little in the way of cross-pollination of plot lines – at the moment – although one suspects that as the (projected twelve issue) series develops, we’ll see more and more crossover, which is all to the good, as each is carrying an interesting plotline along and it’ll be nice to see them collide and crash. The Punk gets most of the best lines, as you might expect with this being his book; he has a good line in wheedling out of trouble (a battle with a would-be world conqueror is put off until the following day to allow the media to turn up, a neat turnabout on other superheroes where the media always appear to be on the right spot at the right time).

The art is as busy as the storyline – sometimes, overly so; in one or two places it’s hard to make out what is going on, and with such a large cast it would be nice to have something like a mini-bio and headshot of each on the inside front cover to bring one up to speed from the kick-off. However, there has been real development in Talbert’s style since the first issue, and #3 works a dozen times better; of course, this bodes well for the future, if #5 is a dozen times better than this, then watch out!

The book could also do with a proper editor, there are too many spelling or grammatical errors; again, the incidence of these is reduced in #3 compared to #1, but even the first run-through of the book made “benifit” instead of “benefit”, “it’s” instead of “its”, “teneous” instead of “tenuous”, “bycicle” instead of “bicycle”. My wife says spotting this proves I’m too anal and pedantic, but they bring the book down and make it look amateurish, which is a shame because it is so close in so many other areas.

Each issue is topped off with an interesting and funny one-page text piece from either writer or artist, and as a package and a rollicking adventure, it’s very well done. Check out their website, and give it a shot.



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