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Hero by Night #2

Posted: Monday, February 25, 2008
By: Geoff Collins

James Patrick
D.J. Coffman
Platinum Studios
Hero by Night is an answer to my prayers. Fans of the Giffen, DeMatteis, and Abraham collaborations will find themselves in the same boat. Hero Squared and Hero by Night fit lovely next to each other on the shelf. Both are similar to many other comics and both are showing similar dilemmas for their heroes, but neither is quite like anything else I’ve read.

In the second page of this issue, they work in a villain logo for The Fiancée, which is something that I would expect to see in Hero Squared. Since Squared came to an untimely end, I was very happy to see something similar in another book.

This was the first issue I’ve read of Hero by Night and I like that it mixes the DC style of heroes (over the top with their costumes and capes with limitless powers) but it has a Marvel aspect (where the hero’s personal life isn’t ideal for a vigilante lifestyle). Spider-Man spends just as much time struggling for work as he does with villains, whereas Batman spends more time investigating and brooding.

Looking at the villains that Hero by Night fights in this issue, you can see a combination between the mature rated comics and the common super hero villains. In one moment, Hero by Night is facing gang bangers and money launderers much like Frank Castle or the various heroines in 100 Bullets, then he gets attacked by what resembles Sasquatch like any good ol’ super hero. What’s interesting is that the Sasquatch, named Saul Simian, actually shows a lot of complexity in the few scenes he’s shown. At first it seems like the typical grunting smash ‘em up character, but they show a side to him that makes him compelling. In a scene where he’s talking to another villain he proves to be compassionate which I wasn’t expecting - I thought he’d just growl and be photographed by Weekly World News.

The hero in this is learning about his own power, which was handed down to him by the previous Hero by Night, kind of like The Phantom or Green Lantern - it even incorporates a ring. That means that because the hero is learning back-story, the reader hears a lot of back-story and exposition also. So each issue makes for a good jumping on point for readers.

While battling gangs and super villains, Hero by Night has to keep in mind The Fiancée. In his real life his fiancé doesn’t approve of the vigilantism so he has to make it back home in time to tell her himself or she’ll find out through the news. It seems like such a petty problem to have, but anyone who’s been in a relationship can relate to it. While younger readers won’t find it that suspenseful, people like me will sit and gasp as the clock climbs closer and closer to when The Fiancée awakes.

As much as I like it, I cannot deny that this isn’t for everybody. With that said, fans of the slice-of-life indie comics or super hero genre will likely find this a good read.



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