Overview

No Hero #1

Review

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No Hero #1

Credits

  • Words: Warren Ellis
  • Art: Juan Jose Ryp
  • Inks: Juan Jose Ryp
  • Colors: Digikore Studios
  • Story Title: n/a
  • Publisher: Avatar Press
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Oct 1, 2008

Joshua Carver would win Who Wants to be a Super Hero with no problem. Carrick Masterson has noticed and just happens to be on the market for a Super Hero.

You have to love Warren Ellis. He works hard to make you see that a dystopian future is not very far fetched. He infuses his scripts with facts. He takes ideas straight from the headlines. He is a massive receptacle for all the media around him. He takes it in and spits it out in his own twisted fashion.

Here he takes the whole idea of Kick-Ass and puts it on a broader canvas. Life has become miserable for the inhabitants of the world created here. Missing People and muggings are all too common place.

Masterson and his designer drug bring an answer. The mad scientist creates the Front Line. A group of individuals powered by his narcotic. The war they set out to fight claims three members. It is the search for replacements that brings Carrick to notice our young protagonist. Joshua is a young and righteous man. He is straight edged and plays the vigilante game with all the right moves. He fights below the radar. He has regular patrols. He doesn’t kill. He is everything that Masterson could hope for, but does he want to be a super hero bad enough?

The comic is an amalgam of ideas that are all too common place these days. Not just in the real world vigilantism of Kick-Ass, but there are also hints of Mutant Growth Hormone from the X-books. There is a secret powers that be ala Wanted. Ellis even throws in a good bit of his own Black Summer for good measure.

In fact, from the solicits, many fans hoped that this book would be a prequel. While the characters may be different, in some ways it is a precursor to that other book. Whereas Ellis’s first collaboration with Ryp was an exploration of how far the line of vigilantism could be drawn, this book is an examination into what it takes to become one. Of course, it is a meta being book and the comic even hints at Transhuman. Through a documentary style in the exposition and the whole idea of augmenting humans through medical technology, Ellis may be giving a nod to the hot new trailblazer of comicdom, Jonathan Hickman.

One would think that all this borrowing and allusion would make for a boring stagnant book. However, Ellis uses the derivative nature of his plot to create something fresh. See having influences is not always a bad thing. In fact, Ellis almost seems to approach writing a comic like a good business man approaches his business. Check out the competition. See what they are doing right and adjust your business to that style. Never pay attention to what they do wrong. This is how you get an edge.

Really this book is an example of Ellis doing what he does best. And what he does best is take as much information as he can and cram it into a story that causes the reader to think. An Ellis book can cause spontaneous contemplation. Topics that may afflict the reader are current affairs, the political environment of the world and future technologies. While he is terrifying you with a scary future not far removed from our own, he also calls out to the inner comic geek in all of us. It is like a game of this element came from here, this one from here, and this one from here. The end results are books that are provocative but familiar at the same time.

Ryp is uniquely paired with Warren. More than just about any artist ever, Ryp seems to really get Mr. Ellis. He uses a bold line and a strong sense of story telling to help convey the script. However, he goes beyond this noticing the detail in the background. The graffiti on the wall, the garbage in the alley, and the individual bricks on a building - all of this shows that his attention to detail is on par with the writer. He is a solid artist working on a solid project. The over the top graphic violence is just the whip cream on top of his Warren Ellis split.

No Hero is not going to convert any readers who don’t dig Ellis’s current output. However, it is an extreme example of how Ellis’s genius works. He notices things and creates utterly new, compelling and controversial stories from them.

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