Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
“Victories”, published by Dark Horse Comics is three issues in, but as the saying goes, “It’s better late to read a comic book than never.” Wait, you’re telling me that’s NOT a saying? My mistake. But if you’re looking for a stylistic comic where the moral lines of right and wrong are blurred and the hero (or anti-hero) is far from perfect, look no further than “Victories #1”, which is part of a 5-issue miniseries.
Writer and Artist: Michael Avon Deming
“Victories #1” opens up with an omniscient narrator setting up the dark tones of the series. We are introduced first to a dead rat in its own pool of blood, then to a silhouette of a hero overlooking the city. This city is wretched and corrupted. It reminds me of Batman’s Gotham. But this hero isn’t Batman. He may not even be a hero. So who and what is he really? That appears to be the whole premise of the series.
As the comic proceeds, we don’t see our hero friend again until halfway through the comic. Instead, we watch a vigilante named the Jackal (who literally looks like a jackal) violently terrorize a judge while his wife is forced to watch. You can’t tell, but I’ve sugarcoated “terrorizing”. Only then does the hero, who goes by Faustus, save the day.
The second half is when the real story begins, bringing up the issues Faustus will face. He’s not a bad guy. After all, he’s part of the superhero team the Victories. But he’s not a good guy either as he doesn’t have “the heart of a hero” like his fellow Victories. He’s a screw-up that lets people down. The Jackal serves as a kind of foil. In a twisted way the Jackal is like Faustus, trying to rid the city of evil, but he’s willing to do what Faustus won’t: kill. And he’s intent on making Faustus believe that killing is the ONLY option.
“Victories” has potential. The art is edgy, utilizing dark lines and shadows and bringing together hues of blue, red, and black. The colors give off an ominous feel. My only problem with the art is that I occasionally can’t tell what’s going on in the panels. The best panels are of the fight, which is like an artistically mapped out dance.
As for the characters, they’re hard to take seriously. The judge’s dialogue makes no sense. The Jackal is so cartoonish and over the top that I couldn’t help but grin every time he spoke. I mean, who talks like that? Hopefully future characters will improve in dialogue. The only likeable person is Faustus. He’s realistic, witty, and a bit of a jerk.
The overall issue is just okay, but the ending is promising. It is a bit crude and involves more swearing than necessary for my taste, but if that floats your boat, go crazy. I don’t mind the dark violence and undertones though. Luckily if you’re interested in Faustus’s story like I am, you’ll give this comic a try.
Author: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Laura is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently resides in Southern California. She drinks too much milk tea, talks too much about Green Lantern, and would marry Barry Allen if he were real.