I just read Dark Horse Comics' The Victories: Touch Vol. 1 collecting issues #1-5 of the mini-series before the recent on-going. The Victories is a Michael Avon Oeming (co-creator of the Marvel imprint Icon's Powers) property that he writes and illustrates. Oeming is facilitated in this endeavor with coloring by Nick Filari and lettering by Aaron Walker.
The Victories is a superhero comic. If you got a chance to read my review of The Mighty Titan #1, you'll know how I feel about superhero comics outside of the big two currently, which is that they aren't too necessary and we should really be developing comics in all genres further since we are over-saturated with superheroes. This book does not sway my opinion on that. That also does not mean that this is a bad book; far from it.
The premise of The Victories: Touch is very post 1980's Frank Miller and Watchmen. In fact, it screams it from roof top to roof top. It's a dark, brooding team of heroes (one of which is on the moon which immediately made me think of Dr. Manhattan on Mars because of the tone of the book) that are in a distopian society and struggling with their own morals and values with the vast majority of the focus being on Faustus. The book could really be called Faustus and it would probably be a more accurate title.
One of the more glaring flaws as I read through this (don't worry, I'm gonna get to the good stuff soon) is in the setting itself. The comic focuses so much on Faustus' personal struggles and a few other characters that we don't actually get a feel for the city itself. I never feel that the city is all that bad because I as the reader am barely exposed to it, if at all. We see one character terrorize a couple, but outside of that the city could be anywhere and I never feel like the place is unsafe. The kind of material that this story appears to draw from spent a lot of time building up the city and the world around it. Daredevil: Born Again, Watchmen, Batman: Year One all showed us just how bad the city was, how corrupt the cops and/or government were, and we very much needed that. Without those aspects the stories wouldn't have been convincing and they would not have garnered their legendary status. This story needed that in a different way than it was presented to us.
What really makes this story worth picking up more than anything else is the art. Oeming is an absolutely fantastic artist. I love his stuff. I love looking at this stuff. I love how Nick Filari knows how to make the pages pop to Oemings benefit. When you pick up this book you will be flipping through a dark yet beautiful tale. And the story, though somewhat predictable, does have a twist or two that make it stand out a bit. Not nearly in the same way that the art makes this book stand out, but it helps. The story is run of the mill, slightly above average, but the art is a real knock out. Also, it's only $9.99 for a 5 issue trade.
The on-going Victories series has only just started and is up to issue 2, so picking up this trade will help you jump right in. If you want a superhero book that's different from what the big two are currently putting out month to month with an artist that is unlike what you'll see from nearly all the big two superhero books in a good way, then I strongly suggest you pick this up.
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