Having deconstructed the world of superheroes in Powers, Michael Avon Oeming is set to deconstruct the deconstruction with the launch of his balls-to-the-wall adult superhero series The Victories as an ongoing title from Dark Horse Comics.
If you’re a fan of Powers then quite simply there is no reason for you to not love this book. Michael Avon Oeming returns to very familliar territory in this gritty adult superhero book that is part of Dark Horse‘s attempts to get back into the world of superheros. Instead of focusing on the police chasing heroes though, this is all from the perpspective of the heroes, but don’t worry, these aren’t the clean cut heroes of Marvel or DC! No, these are foul-mouthed, violent, narcissistic heroes, constantly in need of validation and love (or rather sex) as The Victories scours the under belly of the superhero mythos with a book that is full of ominous shadows, both in terms of storyline and Oeming’s stunning artwork.
The story is simple, and easy to pick up for those who haven’t read the mini-series that preceded this. It’s set in a ‘post-superhero event’ world, where our heroes are scrapping minor villains (like this issue’s Bacchus) while attempting to deal with a world ravaged by superhero conflict and trying find their own identity and purpose following a world altering battle with supervillain Faustus. Our heroes The Victories include the likes of Metatron, Lady Dragon and the Spector and are the kind of rich rounded characters which we are used to from Oeming in Powers.
The stand out this issue thought is heroine DD Mau who’s super metabolism lets her fight villains by by day but which masks a dark secret at night and looks set to be the star of the series. Oeming has a past record of strong female character with Deena Pilgrim, and even his creator owned Takio, and this looks set to continue with DD. We also encounter fallen superhero The Strike, who is reminiscent of Christian Walker in Powers, but with a Christ complex, and who is exploring the existential nature of what it is to be an ex-hero. However he is choosing to do this from street level with a series of interviews while expounding his belief in mind-expansion which gives him a strange Timothy Leary quality at the same time. Oeming is going for full analysis and introspection mode here, looking to peel back the layers and look at what it really is to be a superhero and all those we meet in this first issue feel like they have depth beyond the superficial and so should make for some powerful story lines.
Oeming’s ability to fill his books with brilliant vibrant characters who feel both timeless and contemporary is second to none (for us only Erik Larsen on Savage Dragon has the ability to create a better roster of heroes and villains!) and The Victories are much more than just superhero cliches, they all feel like they have depth beyond their superpowers, which makes this an intriguing read. The book itself brilliantly sets the scene for this new series, balancing gritty mature content with foul mouthed quips. But this is more than just a Mark Millar-esque swear-fest. Oeming manages to balance the story telling with adult humour and themes and makes for a great book that will appeal to both Powers devotees and other adult comic fans looking for a story with some balls.
A brilliant first chapter for an ongoing series, Oeming crafts a superb world of adult superheroes that doesn’t feel cliched or sensationalist. His dark themes match up perfectly with his foreboding artwork and he has a cast of characters who feel both instantly familiar yet new and original at the same time.