COMIC REVIEW: The Victories #1

From Michael Avon Oeming, co-creator of Powers, come The Victories. In a world where the only thing standing between us and crime are the Victories, one member cracks down on violence and corruption only to be touched by a painful past through the psychic powers of Link. Will these memories cause him to break down or keep fighting?

The issue focuses mainly on a confrontation between a villain known as The Jackal and a hero known as Faustus. Jackal has killed a corrupt judge, while making his wife watch as he does the terrible act. Faustus arrives at the scene too late to stop the murder, but does fight and defeat Jackal, ultimately making sure he lands in prison. Following the fight, there is an exchange between the two in which The Jackal attempts to sway Faustus to his side, the side that murders to instill fear in the corrupt, rather than protect the innocent with no casualties. After this happens, we see Faustus, without his mask, drinking and berating himself for failing at his duty to protect the citizens. In prison, The Jackal contemplates the true nature of Faustus, vowing to make sure that he stops lying about it to himself.

I won’t lie, at first, I just assumed this would be a regular, run of the mill superhero story, but I was pleasantly surprised. Oeming writes a superhero story that has both wit and emotion. Whether it’s the somewhat bawdy reference to prison rape, the bad puns, or Faustus agonizing over the death of the judge, the story delivered dialogue and plot that went beyond your typical superhero fare. It showed genuinely good writing and a decent exploration of the agony that a hero must face when he fails.

The art went with the story well, showing a coherence of sorts, which is somewhat expected since Oeming pulls double duty as the artist and writer. I think my favorite part of the art as a whole was how The Jackal was portrayed. In pretty much every panel in which he is featured, at least part of his body is in shadow, hidden, or obscured in some other way. I think it gives a certain mystery to the character, only helping to make him a bit more villainous. Another touch which I enjoyed was how prominently The Jackal’s “Mother F***er” tattoo was displayed in certain panels. It adds even more flavor to the character, I feel like.

I love superhero stories that aren’t afraid to break out of the “all-ages” box. Done correctly, a more adult-oriented story can be wonderful. The Victories is showing early signs of being a wonderful story, if the wit and humor keeps up, and the exploration of the characters continues. At five issues total, I know I’ll definitely stick around for the ride and see just what happens between The Jackal and Faustus. And to see if The Jackal has any more tattoos.

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Leo Johnson

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