Hero Hourly (#1 -2) – James Patrick

3 out of 5

S’alright.

Hero Hourly is a superhero office comedy, which isn’t so unusual at this point – especially if we clump any type of “treat heroing as a mundane aspect of reality” spin under that tag – but it does present a refreshing view of the genre by maintaining both the general cynicism that comes with it as well as a bit of classic comic silver-liningness.

As 4.2 GPA college grad Saul fails to become a millionaire overnight and realizes reality has no EZ success guarantees, he goes to work for the titular company, which lets you take a pill for superpowers… On the clock.  Meaning you’re signing waivers, getting the bad guys to sign waivers, tasked with specific duties, and contracted to not go rogue.  Its a quirky spin on the pomposity of things like Marvel’s Civil War, with a heavy dash of resigned acceptance of how money makes the world go ’round.  And Saul is plenty complainey about the cards he’s been dealt, and his co-workers, but positivity peeks through: That kernel of ‘tomorrow will be better’ that gets us through today and actually makes him good at his job.  So HH takes the piss out of heroing, but not heroes, which is nice.

Alas, the structure is rather mundane, following the fish-out-of-water bit, as Saul gets up to super-powers speed, and then doing unnecessary shake-ups (another company buys the Hero Hourly; a masked villain) to replace character development.  Its a trend common in sitcoms, which is what this is: Quirky premise, then sprinkle with distractions.  Writer James Patrick also has a tendency to go for crass jokes, which lowers the tone a bit – moreso for their repetition, which becomes too predictable, than the content itself – but that aforementioned hope, as filtered through Saul, prevents it from becoming too juvenile.

Artist Carlos Trigo delivers an appealing page, with simple but effective and flowing character designs and layouts, very much like Invincible’s Ryan Ottley, but its colorist Alex Sollazzo who steals the show, with impressively subtle blends that enrich the book much without knocking the comicy look off-kilter.

The lettering hits a few gaffes, unfortunately, with some oddly arranged bubbles, mis-attributed dialogue, and typos.

So, y’know, s’alright.  A well put together, if overall average comedy book that seems to have stalled after a couple issues, way before it could’ve found room to stretch its wings.

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