Review: Michael Avon Oeming’s "The Victories" #1
Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories #1 Review
Anyone who considers themselves a serious comic reader should be familiar with Michael Avon Oeming‘s.Powers and Mice Templar are the biggest titles, but there are plenty others. His work on Powers with Bendis has never disappointed. Oeming’s involvement with not only art, but story elements give his books something of an Auteur feel. His newest work The Victories, published by Dark Horse and set to release August 15th, is no exception.
Oeming presents us with a major metropolitan area on the precipice of decline. It’s not the most horrible city but it will never be as great and shining as it once was. Our protagonist is shown standing over his city, a two page spread showing the height and breadth of the city as well as his long, flowing cape. “Once was a hero, now he is on that same path, judging himself,” is a very poignant and telling line from the narrator. No long is this masked vigilante motivated by altruism alone. He’s begun to question why we fight, and why we keep fighting. This sense of malaise comes through in the first violent crime encounter we see.
A crooked official is murdered on a handsome cab ride. Faustus (the protagonists) gets there a little too late to save his life. Was this an intentional weeding out of a corrupt citizen? Or was it an unintentional gaffe, spending too much time pondering the nature of heroism from high above the city? Faustus, for his part, is a bit of a disaffected wise-ass. He chides both the assailant and the victim but knows his stuff when it comes to the hand to hand. He roundly puts the smack down on a killer with two large knives and a size advantage. Oeming’s look for Faustus’ is fantastic. A blend of Batman Beyond meets the Hood he is both dark and brooding while still keeping his snarky temerity.
Faustus’ isn’t the lone hero in the city. The Victories are the resident super team, held in high esteem by most of the city. With such a large swath of the population, Oeming gives us a sense of every POV through TV reports and interviews. The majority don’t appear to tolerate any vigilantism, but what can they do? They can rail against it or leave the city; There is no in-between. Faustus’ full crisis of conscience is shown to us by the end. This is a man who wants to do right, but constant self-doubt is starting to cripple all good intention. By the end of the first issue the main character is fully established and empathized with by the reader. Oeming has also set up one seriously sick, violent meta-human (known as the Jackal) who is hell-bent on shattering Faustus’ moral compass. I’m already looking forward to more of this book. If Oeming’s name is enough to make you pick up the book, his art and storytelling should keep it nice and cozy on your pull list.
Geek Smash Comic grade: 88/100