May 22, 2013

Review -- THE VICTORIES #1

This Review Originally Ran on Comics Bulletin

The Victories #1
(Michael Avon Oeming, Nick Filardi; Dark Horse)
4.5/5 stars
I was convinced that were I to read a ANOTHER comic about ANOTHER superhero team trying to save the world by beating the crap out of ANOTHER over-powered Douche Canoe, I would start either foaming at the mouth uncontrollably while having full-body spasms akin to twerking OR give up reading comics altogether.
That's how bad it has gotten for me.
Then Djeljosevic sent me The Victories to review. I read it fully expecting to foam/twerk or quit, but surprisingly neither of these things happened.
Because this is a good comic.
For some reason I think I like it when my heroes are more fucked up than I am, and The Victories seems to be an entire superhero team of damage cases. And yet, still, despite all their flaws they persist in being heroes -- acting in a heroic manner -- saving the day and all that -- for no other reason that I can discern except it is "what you do" when you have super powers. 

Because the world that Oeming has created as the backdrop for this book is a crumbling semblance of ours. The world's power supply has crapped out, plunging everyone into the dark, afraid, unable to communicate in the ways they had grown used to. This is narrated by a deformed former hero named Strike who's narration bookends this issue in a pretty profound way.

"Instead of hide us, the darkness actually reveals us."

In between these bookends are The Victories, specifically the character D. D. Mau, who may be my new favorite fucked up hero -- and Oeming goes to great lengths to make her both likable and obviously fucked up -- I appreciate the extra mile Oeming goes to emphasize this, there's nothing casual in this character's damage and Oeming isn't casual with it either. The Victories are battling a bad guy who's taken on the handle of Bacchus. He's got a rod (not a euphemism) that shoots a beam which makes a person either horny or drunk (he is Bacchus, after all). The interaction between D. D. Mau and Metatron after he gets hit with the beam is pretty damn funny.

And it is the juxtaposition between funny and serious -- the light of our team and the dark of our bookends, the outward joy and the inner torment of so many of the characters -- that I think separates this book from the same old same old same old OLD OLD OLD books that we've all read over and over and over again. Oeming is putting some slick shit down with this team book and, from what I can tell at the end, we are going to be seeing something even slicker down the line. 

Of course, you can't talk about a book by Michael Avon Oeming and not mention his pages. It works in this book in the same way that it works in Powers -- his style provides distance and perspective. You know you are in a comic book and that's just where you need to be right at that moment.
Oeming is promising us that he is going to free us of our "body/mind prison" somewhere along the way in this series. I say, let's do that. I'm ready.

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