Alt-Hero #1 Review

Issue #1 of Alt-Hero just broke and as a backer, I got mine. Thirty colored pages. The artwork was fairly simple but I like simple; I’ve read comics with so much artistic effort that my brain couldn’t assemble the images. (Specifically, Infinity: Outrage, a manga that probably won’t see life outside the wargamer community.) So long as the artwork successfully carries the story, I’m happy, and that’s the case here.

The plot concerns the forcible recruitment of Dynamique, a hot, sexy lingerie model into a UN-sponsored superhero team. Thirty pages wasn’t enough to both introduce the characters and run a plot; Vox Day chose to focus exclusively on plot, which is the sensible choice in the long run, but for now the characters are little more than cardboard props with poorly-defined powers & personalities. We don’t know Dynamique’s background but the very first page has her singlehandedly fighting off a sniper ambush, which is a curious competency for a clothing model even if she is ‘powered’. There isn’t enough material yet for me to say more.

My one real criticism is that Dynamique doesn’t act like a woman. She’s openly and repeatedly confrontational with authority figures, specifically team leader Captain Europa who subdues her after she effortlessly fights out of the opening ambush. Either Dynamique is a very badly spoiled rich girl or she would be much less certain of herself after being suddenly abducted and then informed of special legal restrictions pertaining to superpowered persons. Instead of being either bitchy or submissive, Dynamique is a hard-boiled noir detective with 42-24-36 measurements. Complete with a two-pack-a-day habit.

Does anybody still think smoking is sexy?

The comic is well-executed with solid production values but I wonder if it will be able to reach mainstream consumers. The typical young male comic reader has no representation in this issue. All of the superheroes are well-paid, highly talented professionals who in this issue are little more than State bullies. I think this is deliberate and VD is telling a story along the lines of the video game Deus Ex, but the protagonist Dynamique isn’t going to get men into the story. Most of the famous old-school superheroes were ordinary men with a supernatural ability and exceptions like Iron Man & Batman had humanizing flaws that allowed the reader to vicariously live through the hero they most identified with. I doubt most boys will be able to identify with a female hero that does lingerie shoots between action scenes. Even if they do drool over her.

It’s a decent standalone comic but it fails as a counterpoint to the Convergence of Marvel/DC. Dynamique might as well have been named Rey. She’s effortlessly competent, hot 10 sexy and can face down experienced leaders of elite paramilitary organizations without hesitation on her first day on the job. Sometimes I wonder about Vox Day. One the one hand, he clearly opposes feminism; on the other hand, a second-wave feminist would happily read this comic.


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