Heroes: Vengeance #1 Review – Heroes Reborn Meets ComicsOctober 9, 2015
After seeing its first few weeks on TV, Heroes Reborn expands into the comic book world in Heroes: Vengeance, a comic book series by Titan Comics written by the show’s producer Seamus Fahey and Heroes comic writer Zach Craley, with art by Rubine. The series dives into the secrets of the show’s characters, with each five-part story arc spotlighting a different main character.
In this first issue, we follow Oscar Gutierrez as he patrols the streets as the EVO vigilante El Vengador. Using his strength, he saves a young man from a gang in an alley, efficiently taking out the group of men armed with guns and knives and easily brushing off the stab wound he sustains in the fight. He warns the victim to leave town if he wants to stay safe, but the young man insists that the gang will surely blame him for the attack and come after him regardless. He begs El Vengador to kill the gang members, but the hero refuses by saying he has bigger problems and can’t protect this guy every day. It’s an interesting reaction considering we know from the show that Oscar will go on to help create an underground railroad for EVOs with his own garage and hideout as a safety point.
The other side to this story involves flashbacks to Oscar and his brother Carlos’ childhood, when the two attended a wrestling match with their father. Despite Oscar telling him that wrestling is all fake, Carlos refuses to let his belief waver and continues to idolize his favourite wrestler – the unstoppable El Vengador himself. Oscar clearly admires his brother’s faith in his hero, and understands that everyone needs something to believe in, so it’s no wonder he uses El Vengador’s name and mask as his vigilante identity years later.
The story is really meant to show us what kind of person Oscar was and what he believed in as a vigilante. We only spent a short amount of time with him before his untimely death in the show, so it’s nice getting to understand why he was taking this job upon himself rather than just “because he has superpowers”. Throughout the book he asks what it means to be a hero, and saying that it’s not about being tough, but perhaps it has something to do with giving people someone to root for. In the end though, he reveals that he’ll do anything to keep his family safe, demonstrating that key point of his character that he was trying to encourage Carlos to embrace before he died – family is everything.
It’s a common thread we see in hero stories and may be leaning into the territory of cliche, but it doesn’t feel out of place in this origin story and is a nice touch in bringing Oscar’s motivation down to his brother and son. As for visuals, the art is great and the artistic choices lend well to the storytelling. There are several parallels when jumping back and forth between the wrestling match in the flashbacks and the present-day gang fight, showing both El Vengadors executing the same moves for very different reasons, and yet both inspiring people in their own ways. Oscar’s El Vengador may not have a cheering audience to back him up, but he’s definitely someone people need to believe in as much as his brother believed in the first El Vengador.
Overall, this story is a nice little addition to the Heroes Reborn universe. It doesn’t answer any particularly big questions, but it gives us a brief look into where the character is coming from and how their values came to be. You won’t be lost watching the show without the comic, but if you’re a fan of Heroes Reborn and want as much of that universe as you can get, definitely check this one out at your local comic book store.