Review: Terminal Hero #1

I think my soft spot for Peter Milligan has finally worn out. He had a decent run, but now it seems that everything he writes is about the same: below average. Terminal Hero can be described as Phenomenon with John Travolta, but with super powers. If that sounds like a great idea to you then you might still like this comic, but I did not. Usually I don’t tell you that at the start of a review, but this story was difficult to get through. We’re thrown into the world with our main character Rory finding out that he as a “beautiful” inoperable tumor that will kill him in two months. He complains to his friend and gets his anger out of the way. He then is approached by a beautiful Doctor he works with and she tries to pity fuck him on his front door step, but he’s in love with her so he turns her away. His friend comes over and offers him the chance at an experimental drug. Rory takes it because hell why not right?

He develops powers and pukes a lot, but the tumor starts to shrink. He develops more powers like sowing the mouth shut of a little girl with half a thought from his mind and bringing his dead sister back in ghost form. In the end it turns out that his friend was using him and the drug released something sinister inside of him and now it’s only quenched by whores and drugs… so he promptly begins doing both.

The narrative is choppy and though there are markers like “Later” or “four weeks later” they really hold no weight on the story. It still reads and acts as if mere days or really hours have gone by in the story. What’s worse is that there is no sympathy for Rory because we haven’t seen his life or gotten to know him. Usually when a story just throws you in like Terminal Hero has done, I’m okay with it, but it clearly didn’t work here. We really needed that bullshit time of getting to know our character so that we could care when his life is nearing its end and then also care when his personality changes. As it stands right now he changes with every scene because there’s no consistency built.

TerminalHero01-Cov-LeeThe concept is nothing new either. If you find the idea of near death giving you super powers then check out Titan Comics’ Death Sentence; it’s a far better story and has real character development. Here Rory just seems to have powers and while there’s a short list of what he can do there seems to be very little he can’t do.

The art is honestly about what I expected from a Dynamite title. That sucks to say since they’ve been on a roll lately and really improved the quality of their art. This issue is a step back. The details are severely lacking and the ones that are there don’t make any sense. What fabric of shirt is Rory wearing? Because it wrinkles constantly from top to bottom. There was really just nothing standout about the art or the coloring which had a muted look. I know Jae Lee did the cover, but the coloring there is vibrant and alive while the coloring on the interior is the exact opposite. I don’t know who made that call so I’m not going to point the finger of blame.

I’m not sure why this book is called Terminal “Hero” either. Rory is clearly not a hero and if somehow turns into one… well I still wouldn’t buy that. He’s anything but heroic from beginning to end. Perhaps “Terminal Villain” would have been a better choice and not mislead the audience. Pick this up at your own risk. As for me I’ll be wary the next time I see Milligan’s name on a cover because this is just too many duds in a row to continue giving chances to him.

Score: 2/5

Writer: Peter Milligan Artist: Piotr Kowalski Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 8/6/14 Format: Print/Digital