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H.E.R.O. #21

Posted: Thursday, October 28, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



"Pieces of Hate, Part 3"

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Artists: Dale Eaglesham (p), Wade von Grawbadger (i)

Publisher: DC

Plot:
As former dial user Matt Allen responses to the news that his daughter has been kidnapped by speeding to the home of his ex-wife where he goes on a senseless rampage, we see Reed shows up to advise him that a cool head is what is needed if there is to be any hope of rescuing his daughter. Meanwhile the evil entity that was spawned by the device reduces Reed's army of allies by one with it's usual display of savagery. The issue than ends with Reed finally entering the battle.

Comments:
I'm not sure I buy into the idea that Matt Allen was so caught up in the news that his daughter had been kidnapped, that his response was to go on a senseless rampage, as one would think that most adults would recognize that throwing a temper tantrum accomplishes very little. Still, given this is a man whose entire life had been ruined and the news of his daughter's kidnapping was yet another twist of the knife, I guess I can understand his desire to lash out at the world. It's also worth noting that unlike the other people that Reed has recruited, Matt Allen is the first one who has a reason to want to go after the evil entity right away, as while Wayne was looking for revenge for the murder of his friends, Matt Allen has a happy ending to fight for. This issue also continues to deftly sell the idea that Reed is a fallen hero, as there's a great little moment where after seeing the remains of Wayne, Reed's ability to keep fighting the good fight is pretty much spent, and it takes a wake up call from Matt to shake him out of his depression. Now I realize that I came aboard this title rather late in the game, and that next issue is the final chapter, but I have to say it's nice to see Will Pfeifer is exiting stage left with a big finish. I'm also impressed by this book's willingness to kill off it's characters, as it becomes far easier to be concerned about the final outcome, when the good guys have such a high mortality rate.

Normally I don't go out of my way to comment on a cover that I didn't care much for, but I have to say this issue's cover had a crudely rendered appearance that I found a bit odd, but even worse the image is guilty of spoiling the big surprise of this issue's cliff-hanger moment. As for the interior art Dale Eaglesham continues to deliver some solid work on this series, from the visual impact of the credit page, to the scene where Reed returns to the motel to discover the remains of Wayne. The art also does an effective job capturing the emotions of the characters, with Matt's unthinking rage on full display in the opening pages of this issue, as is the anguish of Reed as he comes to realize he's losing this fight. The visual impact of the final page is also nicely done even if the cover did manage to spoil the surprise factor it might've had.



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