Anti-Hero Review: When Good People Do Bad ThingsApril 16, 2015
What rules would you break to ensure your loved ones were safe? What crimes would you commit in order to protect them?
Those are questions posed in Anti-Hero, from Jay Faerber (Generation X, The Titans) and Nate Stockman (Reyn), published by IDW. The series originally ran online as part of MonkeyBrain Comics back in 2013.
Anti-Hero centres around a superhero named Paragon and a low-level mobster named Callum Finney. When Callum discovers Paragon’s secret identity, he sees an opportunity to work his way up the underworld ladder by blackmailing Paragon into doing his dirty work. Just how far will Paragon – or Henry, as we now know him – go in order to protect his ex-wife and kids from the results of his secret identity being exposed and how far will Callum push him in his newfound quest for power?
Anti-Hero positively zips along. The chapters are short, typically ten pages or so as a result of its original publishing schedule. That’s a definite positive as no time is wasted. It means you fly through the book too – I ended up reading it all in a single sitting, which is rare with trades. It feels like you are done it in no time at all, yet a lot is accomplished storyline-wise so there is no feeling of being short-changed. It may be because the storyline is carried so well by the writer and artist duo that the interest continues through every page and right until the very end that makes it seem like a faster read than some trades.
The art, and particularly the colouring, are absolutely terrific too. Callum is perfectly weaselly, while there’s a wonderful contrast between the brighter, more optimistic colours of Henry’s Paragon costume and the darker, more sinister costume he dons when working on the wrong side of the law.
There is something very Peter Parker-esque about Henry’s calamitous real life away from the anonymous glory of his superhero exploits. This is a guy who wants to do the right thing but can’t balance that with maintaining a decent life outside of spandex. He’s a character that’s easy to sympathise with and I liked him a lot.
Other characters aren’t quite so well-rounded – particularly Henry’s ex-wife and Callum’s girlfriend – but this story is really all about our hero and his blackmailer, and they both have more than enough to them to carry things.
Anti-Hero is not an affecting comic, one that will stay with you for a long time. But it’s a fun read and I’d happily recommend it.