is the case with Super Hero Happy Hour (grammatical
note, “superhero” is one word, and editorial
note: creators Dan Taylor and Chris Fason got slapped with
a cease and desist order by the Big Two, because the word
superhero is actually trademarked by them -- so later editions
of this book are simply Hero Happy Hour. So it's kind of
moot if not downright a potato, potahto thing). It’s
like reading nothing.
no real story, as each chapter is just another tale of superheroes
in a bar complaining about their jobs, an anthology series
like H-E-R-O. It all takes place in The Hideout
Bar and Grill, an establishment catering to First City’s
hero population. It does feature a certain cast of characters,
but there’s actually only one plot point that gets
carried over from one chapter to another, thus the characters
become interchangeable to the stories.
heroes themselves are either archetypes of the usual heroes
(namely Batman and other characters from the Big Two), or
completely unexplained heroes, meaning there is no demonstration
of power or specific costume visuals to hint at who or what
the character is about. For example; the first hero we’re
introduced to, The Guardian, is a blond haired man in white
spandex that has red, white and blue bars on his chest emblem,
but a large stylized…shape, colored gold next to it.
The reader is introduced to him at a barstool, so we have
no idea what the character is about, what his powers are,
or anything to that effect.
don’t expect to see any characterization, because
it’s not there. They really are just a bunch of heroes
drinking and commiserating about their jobs. Other than
a few easy references to first names and the removal of
a mask here and there, we get no indication of the heroes
as characters; we never have a scene outside of the bar,
in an apartment or anything. Nothing happens…ever.
I kept reading, hoping that eventually I would get to a
point where a story would start; where a narrative thread
could be found and followed. Doesn’t happen.
when the heroes end up having to fight some villains who
bust in (and by “bust” I mean, walk into the
bar quietly and find the time to strike a threatening group
pose), there’s just nothing going on. Sure there’s
a fight but what is it about? Why are they fighting? The
heroes don’t even seem surprised that the villains
are there. And even the fight is boring because there’s
no real use of powers, just some punching here and there,
peppered with some more posing.
a set up like “heroes in a bar,” there’s
a lot of possible ways to spin, the most apparent would
be comedy, but writer Dan Taylor never writes a funny line
into the dialogue. The dialogue is not even ironic or sarcastic
in tone; it’s the literary equivalent of dry toast.
Taylor never tries to inject humor into the script, while
at the same time keeping any element of the deconstructionist
superhero genre as far away as possible. We wouldn’t
want the characters to be dramatic or interesting, or have
any kind of relevance to the comic they are in. Nope, that
would be silly.
artwork is pretty bad. Artist Chris Fason is still a young
artist trying to get comfortable and find a style with which
to draw. Unfortunately, that means that there is a high
level of inconsistency in the artwork, as faces and proportions
change page to page. Even when he finds a style, I doubt
it will improve the art much, as his work is a bad rendition
of the cartoon-ish drawing style that started cropping up
when Powers became a big hit, and Fason is no Avon Oeming.
His panels are boring, he has no sense of action and the
characters don’t move because of it, and to top it
off, he doesn’t draw much. With the minimalist trappings
of the book, there’s really little in way of backgrounds
to draw, and a bar can only be drawn so many ways. The characters
have no visual personality, and barely an identity as there
is no color in the book and the inking is so thick that
at times it looks as if someone just spilled the inkwell
onto the page.