collecting issues thirteen through eighteen of the Image series
Writer: Jay Faerber
Artist: Fran Bueno
Arguably the best team superhero book on the shelves gets another collection, and once again the same heights are hit time and again. This time around, Faerber spends a lot of time away from the heroes of the piece, the Noble family, and concentrates a lot of run-time on the Blackthornes – a similar setup of a superpowered family run by a clever s-o-b patriarch, focusing on how Hunter Blackthorne – on his release from prison after years behind bars due to finally being caught on tax evasion charges – slowly brings his plans to fruition to gain revenge on Race Noble for being involved in his son’s accidental death many years ago.
The book is packed full of revelations about our cast, lots of flashbacks filling in pertinent background details (has someone been watching Lost?) which are handled in a consistent and effective manner, and the odd dose of action too. Weirdly for a superhero team book, the action only gets in the way of the story, and you can’t wait to get back to the plot when each (fortunately infrequent) fistfight kicks off. Many highlights are scattered throughout the book – Zephyr’s attempts to live a normal life, the shock death halfway through, the use of flashbacks of a single scene from three perspectives, are just three examples.
One minor niggle occurs right at the end of the book, when someone disappears thanks to the actions of another character as part of the main villain plot, and this disappearance isn’t mentioned by anyone or anything reporting on the situation – okay, so there were just a few pages left in the book and maybe it’s picked up again in the next few issues (and so we’ll see the outcome in book seven), but it gives the otherwise effective ending of this volume a little downbeat that you’re left wondering about, rather than just hugely enjoying the conclusion.
The second minor quibble with this book is there’s no introduction, no recap, no character list (especially a no-no in a book with such a large ensemble cast as this one has), no covers reprinted, and very little in the way of extras (other than an enjoyable five pagers from Image Holiday Special 2005). These quibbles are nothing but very minor, and don’t affect the final recommendation: buy this puppy, buy this series.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!