I hate my commute to work. No, I despise my commute to work because I’m usually stuck behind a line of cars that move by the inches instead of MPH. It’s the absolute worst. However, my bumper-to-bumper drive is always made better when a new episode of 11 O’Clock Comics comes on. The hosts of the show do an excellent job of providing an informative and fun show that’s a blast to listen to. Not only that, they have created a Facebook page that allows fans to discuss, debate, and vent about all sorts of comic book related topics.
It was on their Facebook page that I met Tony McDougall writer of Hero Killer. After several pleasant email exchanges, Tony was nice enough to provide me the first two issues of his comic to review. He also put up with me asking him a lot of questions about how he came to create his own comic; something that I find interesting. Our conversation even springboarded into me writing an article about how comics become movies; a dream that many comic book creators like Tony have.
At first glance, with a name like #HeroKiller it’s hard not to compare the comic to Watchmen, however, Tony explained that his comic isn’t trying to be a Watchmen knockoff. Watchmen mainly focused on how superheroes dealt with life after hanging up their tights. Tony’s story focuses more on Detective Marquez, a non-superhero, who’s trying to solve the killings of various heroes. In talking with Tony, he indicated that his story has a lot to do with what becomes of boredom.
I’m surmising based on my conversation with Tony so I could be wrong, but it came across as though the motives of the villain are not rooted in some kind of grandiose, evil master plan. Instead, the villain’s motives are the result of something as simple as being bored. I find Tony’s concept to be refreshing especially in the genre of superhero comics when it seems like every villain has a high-concept motive like taking over the world while laughing madly and twirling their mustache.
It doesn’t take long to see that Tony is a fan of DC and Marvel superheroes because his heroes bear similarities to those of the aforementioned companies. That’s not a knock on Tony’s creativeness because, let’s be honest, at this point I don’t think any unique super-powered heroes are left to create. I mean we have a Captain Carrot for God’s sake, what’s left to create? Lieutenant Lettuce?
In a way, the heroes having similarities to those of DC and Marvel works because in a subtle way the story takes on a “What If” tale of your favorite heroes getting killed off by a mysterious antagonist. Understanding that the story is about Detective Marquez and not the heroes, this critique may be a bit unwarranted, but I would have liked to of been given more information about the heroes. Not all of the heroes since issue two have met their end so maybe Tony will give us more backstory about his heroes in future issues. I raise this critique because I feel as though a heroes death should be a punch in the gut to the reader. A shout out loud “holy crap” moment. Since not much backstory is given about the heroes that are killed off, I felt indifferent when the heroes died. I will say this: Tony delivered some brutal death scenes that had me squirming and cringing. Thanks for those moments Tony, now I can’t sleep at night.
In regards to the art, Hero Killer has a very ‘90s cartoony, animated style to it, but with a lot of dark shadows thrown in to give it a moody, adult vibe. Martinho Abreu, who does the pencil work and the ink work (he’s a man of many hats), has a style all to his own so I can’t really say he looks like this artist or that artist. Colorist Justyna Tunkiel uses a lot of muted colors to complement the mood of Martinho’s art and Tony’s story.
With three more issues left to go before the conclusion of the first volume of Hero Killer, it’s hard to say where this series is headed. I have no clue who the killer is, how this volume could end, and where it could go from here. If intrigue, horror, and heroes is your thing, then Hero Killer is for you.