By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
For yours truly, one of the more intriguing announcements to come out of Comic-Con International: San Diego this year was the news of a new Heroes comic book from Dynamite Entertainment, written by Cullen Bunn. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen our old Heroes friends, but given what we saw from that show in its third and fourth seasons, I’d say that’s probably been for the best. We’ve had some time to get the bad aftertaste out of our mouths, and we’re probably all a bit more forgiving by now.
So what can you do with new Heroes stories? A lot, really. There are so many different characters and settings and powers, etc. But at this point, what Bunn doesn’t do is just as important as what he does. We spent two or three seasons sitting through bad Heroes. I think we’re due for some quality content. Does Cullen Bunn need my help to create quality content? Probably not. But just in case, I’ve got a few tips for him…
1. She’s Not Cheerleader Jesus
Hey, I get it. Hayden Panetierre is hot. It behooves any show to put the hot chick in the thick of things. In season one, the Claire Bennett character obviously played a macguffin role, with everybody trying to help her, save her, or figure out who the heck she was. And like most things in season one, it was intriguing and well done. But after that, all the emphasis on Claire got obnoxious. I get that the kid with healing powers is bound to play an important role. But I think the show might have overplayed their hand as far as how much of that character fans really wanted to see. The protective dynamic between she and her father was interesting for the first couple of seasons, but eventually I longed for those characters to evolve, which never really happened in a satisfying way. And remember when Claire had a lesbian roommate for pure smut appeal? Blech. I just hope I don’t find Claire’s storylines quite as cringeworthy this time around.
2. No More “Painting the Future”
Having Tim Sale (Batman: The Long Halloween, Superman: For All Seasons, Spider-Man: Blue) produce original art for Heroes was genius in terms of fanboy appeal. The Isaac Mendez character would “paint the future,” and using Sale’s art, the show would provide some ominous foreshadowing. Toward the end of the first season, Isaac was killed off. But the showrunners kept trying to shoehorn the painting power back into the series through various other characters. I understood the desire to to keep it in there, because it’s a pretty cool super power. But again, the show overplayed its hand. Better to quit while you’re ahead. If Bunn wants to incorporate the illustration power into his series, as a fan, I’d hope to see him use it in a different way. An example off the top of my head: A character who can somehow read someone’s mind through painting.
3. Disperse Powers with Care
Peter Petrelli and Sylar, two of the shows top-tier characters, had the ability to essentially “collect” abilities from other super powered characters. This wasn’t a problem from a get-go, but it became very confusing as the series went on, most notably with Peter Petrelli. As the seasons progressed, it became difficult to keep track of what his powers were, what he could and couldn’t do, etc. As he was probably one of the show’s top two big protagonists, that was a hefty problem. It was also one of the major problems with Sylar, though not necessarily as much. For some reason, Ando and Mohinder were also given powers at one point, which didn’t make much given their roles. If I were Bunn, I’d enforce a “no switching” rule for at least a few dozen issues.
4. Sylar is a Bad Guy
I’m pretty sick of seeing “redeemable villains” everywhere. You know: “There’s still good in him! We can save him!” Heroes went that way with Sylar in season three. Certain aspects of it were interesting, and I’m all for putting the character in interesting situations. But I’m done with wishy washy Sylar. When I open this series, I want good ol’ season one Sylar back. I want the sadistic, merciless, power-hungry villain who saws peoples skulls open to steal their powers. Whatever the story Bunn wants to tell is, lets raise the stakes by throwing this extremely combustible element in the mix. Having never read the Heroes graphic novels, I’m very interested to see how the character comes off without Zachary Quinto’s stone cold performances. So bring on the bad guy…
5. Let’s Not Get Too Crowded
One of the many elements that made the first season of Heroes so great was that we had all these separate characters and plot threads, which would intersect at various points, but were all set to converge in New York City. When we got to season two, some of the excitement was gone because a lot of the characters knew each other. That question of “what will happen when X meets Y” was gone. So if you’re in Cullen Bunn’s position, how do you make up for that? Can you make up for it? I’m not sure. But if I’m in Bunn’s position, I’m keeping the cast small in the early going. Supposedly, the emphasis in the first few issues will be on Claire, Sylar, and Hiro. I’d say that’s a good start. But I wouldn’t be overly anxious to bring the other characters in. Let’s let the anticipation set in a bit, so readers can wonder just what has become of Peter Petrelli, Matt Parkman, and the others.
One way or another, Heroes #1 is going to be a must-read. But what I’m even more interested to see is the way the series progresses through issues #2, #3, #4 and beyond. This book will definitely have some eyes on it, so let’s hope it proves to be worth looking at.
Front page image from motivationalsmartass.com. Image 1 from bebo.com. Image 2 from comicvine.com. Image 3 from liveinternet.ru. Image 4 from mysanantonio.com. Image 5 from sidereel.com.
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