I should rule the world
No Hero #4
by Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp
I should be the leader of the free world. No, I haven't had much experience in the political arena. No, I haven't served in a democratically-elected public office. No, I haven't taken a slew of political science and economics courses - though I did have a very kickass poli-sci professor in college; man, was that guy eccentric.
No, the reason that I am qualified to be supreme overlord of the terran planet is this: I read comic books. "WTFrak?" you ask. Let me share with you a few of the lessons that I have picked up from various funny books:
1. A webslinger taught me that with great power comes great responsibility.
2. An alien taught me that even the most powerful of beings can have a tiny stone as a weakness.
3. Mad scientist does not necessarily equal evil genius.
4. I know the exact actions to take in a zombie holocaust, even though I might have to compromise the "civilized" part of me to protect the rest of the tribe.
5. A dark knight taught me how to turn tragedy into motivation.
6. Sometimes your responsibility may prevent you from maintaining a career/relationship/secret identity.
7. Time travel technology often leads to more problems than it solves.
8. Don't waste your time mourning someone who died, chances are you'll see them in about 18 issues.
9. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer, but then your friends closer, because sooner or later, you'll fight them in a Civil War or a Crisis or a crossover.
10. It's okay to use minors in rooftop combat.
11. Underground caves and satellites are the best places for headquarters; mansions and towers are constantly getting destroyed.
12. From Grant Morrison, I know that you don't always have to be coherent to have people follow you.
13. The most effective form of armor for women is a skin-tight outfit and/or bikini combo.
14. If you're unhappy with the world, just retcon it.
15. Vampires do exist, and we need to make sure to keep their numbers manageable.
I think this more than makes me the perfect candidate for the top spot. For anyone who disagrees, I'll be sure to mention your name in my next meeting with Mephisto, Dormammu, Zadkiel, Belasco, Satannus, Neron, Lucifer, Belial, or whichever devil-type figure they decide to add next. There's definitely a lot to be said about what we can learn from superheroes and supervillains. But given the chance to actually be a superhuman, would you take it?
That's the question explored in the "serialised graphic novel", No Hero, from Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp. If I have to go through what Josh, the main character of the book, has been put through, I don't think so. The fourth issue of the book came out this week, and all I can say is that the title has gotten more and more disturbing with every issue. It started off a little slow with #1, but has definitely picked up the pace. It certainly keeps with Avatar's well-established history of not pulling any punches in terms of controversial, possibly (read: definitely) offensive content.
I have to hand it to Avatar. I'm not personally into everything they put out, but I can appreciate all of it. At first glance, their titles might seem like some of the shock-value crap that we were getting in the early-mid '90s from every rinky-dink publishing house trying to be the next Image. But then if you look a little deeper, all of their books have other redeeming factors, namely a blow-your-mind story. They publish the stuff that the other guys are a little too squeamish to print. I mean they give us the stuff that writers like Ellis, Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, and Christos Gage can't or won't get published elsewhere.
Their books always ask questions like "How much do you want to be a superhuman?" That in turn leads to other questions like "Why do you want to be a superhuman?" Of course, there's the fame, the glory, the women. Or there's the genuine need to help improve the lives of other people. But with that comes self-sacrifice. You can maybe get a bunch of women, but not have a single meaningful relationship. So there's a lot of potential with this premise, and Ellis really builds a rich world to play with that. That's not to take anything away from the brilliant art of Juan Jose Ryp. This guy can really make you believe that a cameraman is disgusted by what's he's seeing. From issue 3... well, pick up issue 3 also and you'll see what else he can conjure up from Ellis' script.
Who should read this book:
People who can handle a disturbing image or two.
People who realize the potential of sequential art.
People who regularly Google their own name to see if embarassing pics from high school ever surface.
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