Group Review: The Victories #1

There were a ton of great titles hitting this week and while we’d love to give you a group opinion on all of them, we focused instead on a few that would have the biggest impact. Creator Michael Avon Omeing’s The Victories returns with its second volume and newly acquired ongoing status as its part in Dark Horse’s superhero rejuvenation. The reviewers of Comic Bastards will weigh in with a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass. Now a brief synopsis from Dark Horse:

Following the Jackal’s faceoff with Faustus and an attack on the US infrastructure, the Victories face a plague of new evils threatening their city. Who is trying to destroy our nation? Can the Victories overcome their own spiritual demons to keep the team together and save the world?

Jordan: Buy

The Victories: Transhuman is a lot of things that I like; and all it attempts to do it does well. Although it does bounce around a lot and assume you’ve already become familiar with everything, it was okay. I was left with questions yes, but never annoyed. I couldn’t be. Tackling such neat concepts as an insecure and abused central narrator with a power that’s as much of a weird curse as it is a gift. A worldwide black out and how heroes and bad guys alike have dealt with it and a villain with a magic rod (Heh) that potentially turns its victims super horny (Heh, heh), The Victories has a lot on its plate.

With all the wackiness comes a cutting darkness. Our narrator wakes up a fat woman every morning and is toned and badass by evening (how silly!), but her powers stem from her mom`s verbal abuse over her weight. The Greek-themed bad guy the heroes are trouncing has a horny-ray (you gotta be kidding me?), but it can also make people extremely intoxicated leading to a super powered misfire of a laser beam that nearly wipes out everyone in a block. I like how this comic can take the funny and the bleak and meld them together so expertly with so many interesting ideas. I’m jazzed to see what’s next.

Connor: Buy

I fell in love with Michael Avon Oeming's The Victories when I read the first trade. In fact I gave it a perfect score (which you can read here). At the end of that I just couldn't wait for any more stories involving these characters and well now, there is one and it hits everything perfectly, just like I'd hoped.

The Victories has shown maturity with its characters and their lives that I have never seen before and with this first issue, that kind of writing is continuing and possibly even stronger than the previous volume. It may make some people cringe but none of it is unnecessary.

Oeming's art and writing are very strong in this issue and I will definitely continue to read the series. This is that something different that you've always wanted in the super hero genre. Do yourself a favor and pick it up.

Dustin: Buy

In the first volume of The Victories, Omeing had a clear message of “fuck your superheroes” and while that message is still clear and present in this second volume, he’s now added “and your world” to the end of it. There is absolutely nothing safe about this comic and as much as I like and enjoy the characters I’m pretty sure any of them could kick the bucket on any given page. The Jackal has turned the world into chaos and leveled the playing field for the working class. Literally the world is turned upside down on this the first issue of the new series.

I find that incredibly bold. So many superhero titles and crossovers begin with dramatic events that take a few casualties, but they’re always swept under the rug. The buildings are rebuilt by the next issue of the series and while people talk about the outcome, it’s rarely shown outside of the story arc. Oeming, has put the entire planet in a panic and he’s forcing these heroes to deal with that as much as they possibly can. They rest, they take breaks and more importantly, they take care of their own if needed. It’s the most refreshing take on the genre since Powers, but without the mindless chat and characterization that Powers became at the end.

Carl: Borrow

When I opened this comic, I was met with an artwork that seemed heavier on the cartoonish side.  Think of the Game Cube game Viewtiful Joe, and you will get a close idea.  But then the writing and dialogue went very real-world with its use of expletives and graphic action.  So I am saying that I needed a few pages to get into the artistic style presented with the book.

Victories is set in a world where the power and communications abilities that we in this dimension cherish have been eliminated.  Various heroes and villains vie for control, which is standard comic book fare.

The book begins with The Strike, a hero in rehab, leaving the sanctuary and clothing as he questions the world around him.  Then, the story follows another group of heros, The Victories, as they fight the bad guys.

The difference with this comic is the characters.  One in particular, DD Mau (please do a cross reference web search with the Vietnamese language to understand the implication of her name), pulled me in.  DD operates like the Flash with her meta-metabolism that makes her fast and nigh-invulnerable.  Unfortunately for DD, rest results in a massing of body fat.  A simple nap could add hundreds of pounds to her frame, so she must keep moving.

DD has an engrossing back story told in flashback during a battle.  This comic deals with feminine self-image issues in a way that a Neanderthal man like me could understand.

The action shifts from DD back to The Strike as he waxes metaphysical on the nature of reality in Morpheus from The Matrix type fashion.  As he does, the essence of the hero Metatron flies off into the sky past the villain Tarcus.

I’m a little unclear on the insinuation of the final panels.  I believe that reality shifted under the power of The Strike, but it could have just been Metatron’s essence flying by.  In trying to be profound the comic ends with a nebulous conclusion.

The Victories starts strong out of the gate with issue one, mainly due to the aforementioned characterization.  One big problem with this formula is that characterization + weak plot = failing book.  If the creators don’t infuse a good story into this book, I don’t see this as a standout. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this first issue.

Sergio: Buy

Was anyone else as excited as I was when they heard that The Victories was coming back as an ongoing? After reading the first mini-series that mostly followed Faustus around and showed what a fucked up mess his life had become after all that's happened to him I was left with wanting more. Not just more about Faustus, but more about The Victories as a team. I'm glad to say that this is exactly why the new ongoing series has set out to do!

The story kicks off with its attention directed to DD Mau, a super hero with the power of a "super metabolism", sound like a strange power to have right? Wrong! Having a super metabolism allows DD to kick all sorts of ass; she's like a ninja on steroids. The down side to this power you ask? When DD pushes her power to the limit it takes a toll on her body and does the exact opposite of what it's supposed to do by making her overweight, which makes her hate herself and brings back awful childhood memories. This issue also reintroduces the character "Strike", a super hero turned drug addict. He seems to have become some sort of born again hero, possibly? Who describes what he's been through by saying, “I had become less than human, and yet more than human at the same time.” It sounds to me as if he's headed down a strange, self-righteous path that may get him into some trouble with The Victories further down the road.

Oeming's art paired with Nick Filardi's colors are the comic world's equivalent to fine wine and fancy cheese. That may be the oddest thing I've ever said about a creative team but I can't think of a better way to describe it. The duo does a knockout job of bringing the bright, exciting world of the Victories together with colorful action packed pages that are accompanied by darker somewhat depressing panels for the more intimate parts of the story.

I missed out on the Dark Horse Presents run, mostly because of the $7.99 price tag so I'm not entirely sure if this new story is a continuation of where they may have left off but either way I didn't feel lost at all, so if you missed it as well and maybe you didn’t read the first mini-series then this is a great jumping on point. The Victories has a lot of potential to be a long running comic and maybe even a movie in the vein of kick ass so you're going to want to stay along for the ride.

Overall Score: Buy it!

Writer/Artist/Creator: Michael Avon Omeing

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Price: $3.99

Release Date: 5/1/13