An advance review of the upcoming Image series!
Credits & Solicit Info:
THE LAST GENERATION OF HEROES IS HERE!
Twenty years ago, the first-ever superheroes debuted without warning and forever altered our global culture! Now, the generation born in their wake fight to claim their place in a world evolved beyond them! Written by Eisner & Harvey award-winner JOE KEATINGE and illustrated by ELEPHANTMEN and POPGUN's ANDRE SZYMANOWICZ, HELL YEAH combines the over-the-top excitement of the original Image Comics launch with modern, innovative storytelling. It all begins with a giant-sized first issue containing a full thirty-two pages of story with no ads for the regular price of just $2.99!
The horror movie Scream single-handedly brought the term "meta" into the mainstream. Since that film, being self-aware of one's place in a scene and breaking down the fourth wall has become relatively commonplace in all forms of fiction. In comics, the latest generation of Meta is a modernization of this concept- the idea that superheroes and things of that ilk are taking place in modern times, complete with 21st Century cynicism and a steadily anti-hero protagonist. Enter: Hell Yeah!
Our story centers around troubled youth Ben Day, the son of a great war hero who was saved by a team of superheroes at the end of the Gulf War. Since then, the entire world has eliminated most diseases, there is a constant source of renewable energy, and technology is universally enhanced decades ahead of its time. This new world comes as a result of the presence of these heroes – and villains – who have, for better or worse, dramatically changed everyday life for the entire planet.
Although this is not a completely original idea it is very well done here. When we are initially introduced to Ben he acts like anyone who wanted to be normal; he never asked to be the son of a famous war hero. He never asked to be put into some kind of special circumstances, and he is acting the way any teenager would. His story introduces a lot of questions and potential twists, and it intrigues us enough that we actually want to have our questions answered.
The artwork here is rather well done; it is definitely not amateur hour, yet at the same time it still smacks of grit and bare bones. There is a minimalist feel to it that is befitting to the tone of the comic. There are a lot of different colors used, and each one was used to show the emotion of the setting.
The comic's dialogue, in rare form, actually shows growth and interaction between the characters. It shows the emotional state of individuals, as well as their feelings about the environment around them. All too often in a meta-esque comic such as this, the dialogue, though it may feel very natural, doesn't do anything to significantly develop the characters. Here, we get a better feeling of who each of these people are, as well as their wants, desires, and feelings about others and the world around them.
The only true disappointment in this story is the complete lack of plot. Although it is necessary to establish the exposition, the only thing that really happens here is that Ben gets in a fight at a biker bar, we are treated to Ben talking to a lady friend named Sara and then the school is attacked– sort of– before giving a final reveal at the end of the story. For a comic about a lot of heroes and villains invading modern society, there is practically no action whatsoever. Even in film series, the initial movie- such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Episode IV: A New Hope- can have many action beats. In this regard, the story falls a little flat.
The final verdict: this comic is above average, and despite the lack of action it is apparent that it is building toward something else. It invokes a great amount of tension anticipating what will happen next. A good analogy is the first season of a television series- it can be hard to get through, but it establishes the characters and begins the story so you can enjoy the rest of it later. That is true here- there isn't a whole lot to this particular comic, but you can't wait for what's coming next.
Review by: Dan Kester