This is a series that’s gotten a lot of love on this site, and for good reason. I’m not even a fan of most superhero comics, and I really loved my time reading The Victories Vol. 2: Transhuman. Now, if you’ve never read the series before and may be confused why this is the second volume but starts at #1, don’t fear. Michael Oeming created these characters and this world for a five-part miniseries that consequently got turned into an ongoing (this trade covers the first five issues of the ongoing). I’ve read part of the miniseries, but after reading this I’ll be returning to that soon and re-reading everything. That said, new fans can jump on board with this one and not be confused at all. There’s so much going on in this trade that I won’t bore you with a story recap, if you want to check out reviews of individual issues, check out Jordan’s great coverage of the series via his reviews. There were a few favorite parts in here that I’ll talk about. The first of these, and one of the most impactful moments as a reader, was when we get to see a glimpse into the Jackal’s past. The Jackal is hands-down one of my favorite villains I’ve ever come across in comics thus far, and the fact that we see one of the factors as to why he’s so sadistic and crazy is really intriguing. It shows us when Jackal was a kid; he saved a stray dog and was sitting with it in his backyard. His dad comes outside and notices this and smacks Jackal in the face. The dog is infuriated at this and viciously bites down on Jackal’s dad’s hand. It seems like Jackal loved animals when he was a kid, because the dad says “I know why you love these dirty animals so much…You want to be one!” He then slits the dogs’ throat, cuts off its head, and shoves it over Jackal’s head. Jackal’s dad claims he loves his son, and that he only was tough on him to make him stronger. He says that the world is full of pain and lies, and this is where Jackal gains his hatred of liars. His dad dies in front of him in a shootout with the police. I think it’s easy to tell by now if you’re looking for a heartwarming ‘hero saves the day’ type of book, you’re in the wrong place.
I absolutely love the world and characters that Oeming has created in this book. Each superhero obviously has their own powers, but really they just feel like real people with flaws that happen to have these gifts that they try to use for good. I love the camaraderie between Sleeper and Metatron, the over-the-top nature of DD, the mystique of Sai, the confident and calculated Lady Dragon, and the extremely flawed but sometimes relatable Faustus. As far as the world goes, it’s all going downhill. One of the main events that happens in this trade is the release of a plague thanks to Jackal shooting another villain Tarcus with magic bullets. When Tarcus was shot with these bullets and dies, he releases this plague which starts to kill non-heroes. Of course, the people are now outraged at superheroes, making The Victories a target. At the end, we see prison camps getting set up. Most of The Victories are there, but Sai and D.D. are nowhere to be found…
I love the art in this comic, it’s cartoony but I think that makes more of an impact with the gory and violent parts because you don’t really expect it. I think that’s the key to this comic-you never have an idea of what’s coming next, even if you think you do. That’s what I love about it and can’t wait to dive in to this next story arc. The action throughout is amazing, it pretty much goes without saying that action is going to be a big part of a book like this. The storytelling is intelligent and well-paced. This is a superhero comic that you lend to a friend who says they don’t like superhero comics. I was that guy. They will like this one; I know I’ve loved it so far.
Writer/Artist: Michael Avon Oeming Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $17.99 Release Date: 12/11/13