A book titled The Victories doesn’t sound like it would be about a despotic world where the bad guys rule the roost and the heroes are dropping like flies. Then again, this super team doesn’t seem to lose, so maybe it makes perfect sense, only they aren’t making the world any better aside from kicking ass and taking names. I thoroughly enjoyed issue #1 last month, but how does issue #2 fair, can Michael Avon Oeming continue delivering and more importantly, is it good?
The Victories #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
Check out our review of issue #1 if you missed it.
Superheroes are big business. One consequence is a lot of failed attempts at edgy versions of the heroes we’ve grown to love. Or at the very least pitting heroes in a darker, grittier world which succeeds but has become a bit passé. The Authority and Kick-Ass come to mind when thinking about comics like this. They’re good, but the theme has grown old, but Victories is different in a lot of ways. Sure there is swearing, sex and ultraviolence, but the heroes have unique abilities, the world isn’t a mirror image of our own but a prism for Oeming to deliver social commentary. Dare I say, there’s enough room for this edgy superhero comic because Oeming is making a unique enough world to be worthy of our attention.
When Hannibal Lector ate that dudes face off it didn’t look like that. Yeeuck.
If you’re just joining us, The Victories is a superhero team made up of foul-mouthed and very adult heroes with superpowers. They fight crime in a city that’s seen better days, where there are more food lines than cars on the road and bad guys kill and maim with impunity. Oh, there’s also a drug that makes you float and it’s really ruined a lot of people. This issue opens with a news briefing on the disappearance of an Atlantis-based hero, but quickly cuts to a villain eating a superheroes face off. Gnarly!
I wonder why other superhero leaders don’t deal with this issue.
This issue spends a lot of its time inside Metatron’s head, a hero who got blasted in the brain last issue and is still dealing with the residual effects. Last issue focused on D.D. Mau and it’s nice to see another hero cracked open for our inspection. Metatron wants to show off his leadership, even though he’s not feeling so good, and it’s an interesting topic I haven’t seen done in this way before. You’d think most superhero leaders would feel worried about how their teammates perceive them, but I guess the arrogant macho leader is the mainstay. It’s nice to see the concept played with here.
I’ve always wondered what superhero home bases are filled with on all those floors. Interns?
No doubt Oeming chose a subject like this one, much like with his work on Powers that’s adult in theme, to go with his cartoony art. Even with the moody ink work and dark coloring it helps set this series apart from the rest. In some sense the gore in a book like this is enhanced and more affecting than in, say, Kick-Ass. John Romita, Jr. still has a similar cartoony look, but the gore and rendering of the world is steeped in a much more real looking world.
Fibonacci Circle for the win.
Oeming does an impressive job changing up the composition of each page in this issue. There is no set 4, 8, 10, whatever panel structure, and instead each page delivers something new and interesting to look at. Also, the action this issue tops what we saw last month and is incredibly entertaining.
It’s not all mindless battling though, as there is some kind of villainous group of people pulling the strings. Things are coming together slowly and it’s nice to see there’s a bigger plan behind this story beyond bad guys fighting good guys. This group is depicted always in shadow, drinking martinis in suits and dresses, which seems to suggest the rich are once again doing bad things. Sure we’ve seen the rich, possibly corporate world be the bad guys before, but at least as far as how Oeming has delivered the baddies in this issue they seem original.
Look at the mess you made!
- Intense action sequences
- Original character developments you haven’t seen before
- The cast isn’t familiar enough yet to warrant interest in all the members of The Victories…so far
This now ongoing series starts with a five part story that I think is developing at a good pace. New details are revealed this issue; revelations, but also an opening up of the larger world. I can’t help but love what Oeming is doing and this is coming from a guy who fell out of love of the first iteration of this series. This series is now on my must read list.
Is It Good?
Yes. If you’ve read superhero comics your whole life give this a try. There’s plenty to original ideas at work here to warrant a read.
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