Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hero House - A Review

This is unusual. Today I'm reviewing something that only relates to Superman in the scantest of senses: they're both about superheroes. I hope this doesn't freak anyone out too much.

Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured the Slayer attending college for the first time, and being introduced to a whole new set of real life challenges in addition to the supernatural ones she had grown used to. She was hot shit in Sunnydale, but had to start fresh in this new environment.

Justin Aclin's Hero House follows a similar premise. In this case, small town superhero Turbine the Turbo Teen (a name intentionally chosen by Aclin to be corny, fear not) finds himself lost among a sea of people who simply don't care about his past accomplishments when he begins attending a big city college.

There, Superheroes are commonplace enough that they've formed their own frat based around training the protectors of tomorrow. This is the titular Hero House, which the former Turbine quickly finds himself a member of, under a much less flattering pledge name.

Hero House is a balance of drama and comedy. The villain's cartoonish scenery-chewing reaches a near 10 on the Nicholas Cage scale, while at the same time having some very real consequences to the characters.

This graphic novel does have a thorn in its side, however. It takes tropes already firmly established in the public mind and doesn't flesh them out fully. One character's problem with his gigantism is introduced, and then solved, in all of three pages. This rush towards a pay-off is also likely due to the fact that the book is an introduction to a new series, and needs to pack as much information into its 50 pages as it possibly can.

Hero House will be available at San Diego Comic-Con at the Arcana Comics booth, and then it will be in the September Previews for items shipping to comic shops in November. It's definitely worth your time to pick it up.

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