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GREAT COMPANION TO THE TV SHOW
on November 20, 2007
I'll give a lot of credit to Wildstorm and DC Comics for their thinking outside the box with the creation of the Heroes webcomic, 9TH Wonders. It added an enormous amount of material and depth to the sprawling series about real people with amazing abilities living amongst us. The graphic novel collects thirty-four installments of the online comic and tosses in some hot extras as well.
The webcomic in theory fills in the gaps between episodes and while it does do that, it also does much more. The chapters are each five to seven pages in length, including the covers. A word about the covers...they are designed to look like well-beaten Silver Age comics, complete with tears and creases and carrying a "Helix Comics" label. Readers will recognize many of the Tim Sale covers, which were used in the shows in the form of the paintings of Isaac Mendez. A nice touch is having the covers increase in price from 12 cents to 20 cents along the way. But...is it just me or did the covers look a heckuva a lot like old Marvel Comics Silver Age books than DC? The imprint label and even the typeface of "9th Wonders" on the covers was very much in the style of Marvel's old monster and sci-fi comics of the 50's and early 1960's. There's even a Heroes value stamp at the end of the book and any Marvel fan during the 70's certainly recalls those letter column collectibles. I found that to be rather curious.
The book begins with several self-contained stories, that do fill in the gaps in the show and provide additional layers to several of the characters. We will see Hiro's inspiration for becoming, well...a hero; shortly after denying his powers to his brother, Nathan Petrelli must use them to rescue a young child from a burning building; D.L. Hawkins uses his powers for the first time; Isaac Mendez' first ominous painting of the future ends tragically at a showing of his work; and Micah has to fend off a schoolyard bully.
There are a few multi-part storylines included that serve to introduce new characters such as Hana Gitelman. In fact, Gitelman appears in more episodes in the graphic novel than any other character. While the character made a couple of brief appearances in the show, she plays a greater role in the webcomic. Hana, who has the ability to act as a living electronic transmitter and receiver, is first introduced on the four part "Wireless" episode and later in "The Path of the Righteous" and the six-part "War Buddies" storyline. It's a lot of story to devote to a character who did not play a major role in the TV series but I think you'll find it well worth it.
I won't right down the entire list of writers as there are a lot. The bulk of the art was handled by Marcus To and Micah Gunnell and was uniformly outstanding throughout. I was amazed at how well the artists captured the real life look of all the actors. Other artists included Michael Turner, Staz Johnson, Michael Gaydos, and Phil Jimenez. The book also includes an interview with series writers Aron Eli Coleite and Joe Polaski, conducted by TV series Executive Producer Jeph Loeb.
My only complaint about the Heroes Graphic Novel is that you really had to have watched the show religiously to know what's going on in the book. There was no attempt made to try and draw in new fans to the show as it assumed knowledge of the various events. That said, this is one great book.
REVIEWED BY TIM JANSON