Golden Age Gets Brassy with Heroes at Large

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Heroes at Large 2

So many comic book superheroes passed into the public domain that they have become golden again -- golden for independent publishers that is, who are free to use these characters to tell their stories. They're at the heart of Dynamite Comics PROJECT: SUPERPOWERS series, and have shown up in other various series.

HEROES AT LARGE is Matthew Spradlin and David Hutchison's take on what we might get if we took PROJECT: SUPERPOWERS and published it with NATIONAL LAMPOON's seventies sensibilities in the modern age of instant gratification through technology. The story involves a handful of heroes who were cryogenically frozen in the 1940s, only to be thawed out in current year to face future shock -- and to reveal that these paragons of virtue were, perhaps, not quite as virtuous as history paints them to be. Catman reveals that his sidekick, Kitten, was eleven when he adopted her, insisting they did not get romantically involved until some time later. Four years later, Kitten pipes up.

Yeah, it's that kind of humor, but you can't say the cover doesn't warn you.

Reveling in the violence afforded them by their training room, their leader learns that they have not fully read the manuals made available to them on the computers in their private quarters. Not surprising, as they don't know how to use computers. One quick lesson in the Internet later, and we don't see our heroes for days, as they get addicted to videogames, over-the-border prescription drugs, pornography, and other unspeakable things. It turns out they're just like us when left to our own devices. They've got a long way to go to become the heroes they once were.

The backup feature is a fun exercise in storytelling, as it appears to take an original BLACK COBRA story and re-letters it to tell a different story, again with the same black humor.

Check out this indie series from ROK Comics / Antarctic Press. But if you're easily offended -- well then get two copies, because it will help you toughen up.

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0