Bryan Hitch continues his first creator-owned work with Real Heroes #3. It’s the story of a group of actors that are brought to a parallel earth where the heroes they play in the movies are real and presumed dead; the actors are brought in to act as stand-ins to bring hope to the survivors of this new world. This issue opens with our protagonists trying to deal with meeting a real super villain for the first time while attempting to cope with the effects of trying to be real superheroes (instead of just pretending to be them).
While not the most original idea for a superhero book, it’s an interesting one. I enjoy that the characters aren’t just jumping right into their superhero roles as if it’s something they’ve always done. Hitch attempts an honest approach to our protagonists – most of them don’t really want anything to do with their new situation and just want to go home. I particularly enjoyed when, after falling from their massive flying headquarters in the sky, one of our heroes, Patriot (the super soldier stand-in) lands on top of a bus and immediately goes to the bar for a stiff drink to collect himself. It’s something I could see myself doing in that situation!
Being drawn by Bryan Hitch, the art in this book is as good as you would expect. It’s like watching a summer blockbuster frame-by-frame. The action is big and the destruction caused by it, even bigger. Hitch, as always, shines when drawing facial expressions, and he gets a lot of chances in this issue as everyone is still reacting to what they’ve been thrown into. I will say that I was not impressed with some of the character designs; each hero is this book looks like something I’ve seen before from either Marvel’s The Ultimates or Image’s America’s Got Powers. I know that each hero is supposed to fit an archetype, but Hitch’s costume designs are all starting to look the same.
I’m concerned for this series, as I feel like I’ve read this all before. As mentioned earlier, the story is not the most original take on superheroes as fish out of water, and I feel that after three issues, I know where this story is going. None of the developments so far were that surprising, which leads me to believe that either I’ve read too many comic books (which is impossible, right…….right?) and can easily predict a plot twist a mile away, or that this story will reach a very predictable ending. For his first attempt at writing, Hitch does a pretty decent job for someone that has made his career as an artist. I’m sure it could have turned out a lot worse – for example, we could have gotten something that resembles Rob Liefeld’s best work (which is still pretty bad).
However, if you’re a fan of Bryan Hitch, I would recommend this book. It’s a perfect showcase of what he excels at as a creator – big explosive superhero action – but it should be, because it’s his book. If you’re on the fence though, like I was before reading this issue, then maybe wait for the trade or a digital sale. This book feels like a giant summer popcorn movie and would probably read better in one sitting than broken up month-to-month (and we all know how well Bryan Hitch keeps a schedule).