This was a better effort than the first one. Production values remain excellent. More superhero characters are still being introduced but this time, the comic does a better job of presenting motivations and abilities. In #1, the protagonist was introduced as a ready-made superhero able to fend off a large paramilitary ambush before being recruited into a government superhero program with so many supers that the plot became a confusing blur. I don’t even remember Super Redhead’s name, she was that forgettable.
Not so in #2. The protagonist, Michael Martel, is introduced in a way that both develops his character and draws in the reader: vigilantism against illegal immigrants. If his name’s similarity to Charles Martel wasn’t enough of a tip-off, Alt-Hero has a very obvious political motivation. I approve. Relevancy to current events is critical in comics, otherwise the reader has no connection with the events and people. We have enough harmlessly ‘noble’ superheroes, not to mention generically brooding superheroes. Pick a team and wear the uniform, yes?
Curiously, the issue did not take the opportunity to introduce a villain. Ah, well. It’s still only #2.
The main fight scene was also done better this time around, focusing on a couple specific characters instead of an ensemble fan service like the Marvel movies I’ve long stopped watching. There’s still work to be done; superpowers still aren’t well-defined, for example, although a couple pages were dedicated to a potential backstage conspiracy. My theory here, developed from extensive experience as an RPG gamemaster, is that superpowers only open the door; they make the characters significant enough to operate at the appropriate level of significance to the plot and context. Beyond that, weaknesses and beliefs become more important than strengths. In D&D, I let the players enjoy their strengths in the weaker fights against generic enemies, a reward for developing their characters, and then have the Named Bad Guy throw them curve balls that force them to improvise and stretch for the next level of character/story development. That would be a good formula here also, I think, and I’m waiting for one of those defining trials to appear. That point will make or break Alt-Hero for me.
Arguably, it was already done here by Martel’s recruitment into a ‘powered’ vigilante cell. A marriage of mutual convenience and shared ideology, much better than #1’s tired “the gov’t will pay you megabucks to fight on our side”. The cell needed a brute for a jailbreak and Martel needed protection from official retaliation for breaking (literally) a migrant rape gang. Now we’re telling a story!
I’ll close by picking an unwinnable fight: what’s up with the attractive female superheroes? Any red-pill man should know by now that women aren’t supposed to be heroes, they’re supposed to appreciate heroes. Alt-Hero is following Disney’s lead on kung-fu warrior princesses and no good will come of that. Maybe most men just aren’t as burned out on sex as me. Does any other man have the reaction to a pretty girl of “She would never have one kind word for me, get out of my face, don’t tempt me with something I cannot have”? I bet Alt-Hero #3 will introduce a third large-breasted ninja princess and me, I just won’t be able to turn the page quickly enough. Female sexuality is weaponized cancer and some of us don’t want our scars picked at.