Helios #3


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Helios #3


  • Words: Jason Rand
  • Art: Gabe Pena
  • Inks: Transparency Digital Productions
  • Colors: Transparency Digital Productions
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Mar 30, 2005

The NTF team continues to look for answers concerning both the prison break and the apparent increasing powers of a teammate.

In three issues, the Neogenic Task Force has been through a lot. They have had to deal with a prison breakup that left teammate Ashley Blair in the hospital. Then there was an attack on Lima, Peru by a renegade group of Neogenics. During this attack, team member Sunstrike, in an inadvertent attack, killed one of the town’s attackers. This issue sees all the members of the team deal with these events in their own way. Sunstrike decides to test out his newfound limits while team leader Façade discusses how everything should be handled. Meanwhile, the powers attempting to take over the NTF continue to make their moves.

Helios #3 easily contains the least action thus far in the series. However, that does not mean that writer Jason Rand takes it easy. In fact, even without any real action scenes, he manages to keep a very nice pace. He knows when the characters should and should not talk, never bogging down the panels with too much dialogue. He transitions between scenes with aplomb and the reader is never confused at all as to what is going on. But his fast pace does come with some problems; as it can seem like he rushes through some segments. If they were so unnecessary as to run through them, perhaps they should just be removed. Also, he runs a bit hot and cold with his dialogue. Most instances he’s dead on, but there are still times when he spells out too much with overly obvious dialogue and others (in particular one phone conversation) where he just babbles a bit too long. This should not detract from the enjoyment of the book though. Rand is really growing as a writer on this book in terms of knowing the characters and story.

As much progress as Rand is making with the writing, Gabe Pena is slacking behind with his artwork. The book still looks too much like a straight superhero story. Helios is attempting something different, the artist should be expected to follow suit. This also could be the case of the writer not playing to the strengths of his artist. Pena’s large panels look excellent, but with all the dialogue in the book he’s asked to draw too many close ups. And when he gets too close on the faces his people end up looking like The Muppets. This isn’t assisted by the standard colors of Transparency Digital Productions. Instead of using more dark colors to enhance the suspense, their use of brighter colors is very questionable. Only once does it seem like they set a proper mood for the book.

In the end, Helios is starting to show the reader what a great book it should be. If the team of Rand and Pena can continue to grow and work towards each other’s strengths a little better, Helios could really turn into something special.

-Sam Moyerman

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