No Hero #1 Cover

No Hero #1 Cover

There are many creators in comics today that you can call truly great in the medium. Brian Michael Bendis, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Robert Kirkman and Geoff Johns all come to mind of the top of my head. But as far as creativity goes and really pushing the boundaries of story telling, I really put Warren Ellis at the top of this list. Not only is his work on mainstream books like Astonishing X-Men great, but he puts out a lot of really amazing creator-owned stuff, too. And his new book, No Hero, is no exception to his greatness.

As many comics are doing lately, No Hero is one of those stories of what superheroes would be like in real life. A subject that probably began, or at least was popularized, but Alan Moore in Watchmen, is represented favorably in No Hero. To put his own twist on the subject, Ellis brings us the tale of a man who wants to be part of a group of vigilantes in a world where the cops just can’t (or won’t) stop crime.

There’s more to come after the break, including, most importantly, my review.

As you might be able to tell from the intro, I really like Warren Ellis. And his writing in this issue is absolutely perfect. I know this is a very bold statement to make, but I really think it is. Instead of providing backstory in narration at the beginning of the issue, he instead uses quotes and news clips that give us fragmented views of the state the world is in and a situation involving the funeral of 2 vigilantes, as well as the fact that the vilgilante group, Front Line, are looking for a new member. I think this is brilliant. It took me a couple of readings to really grasp what was happening in these opening pages, but I think what is amazing about Ellis is that he really challenges you to read deep and not just gloss over the text and fly through the issue.

Then, to up the ante even more, he spends the next few pages doing interviews with people to introduce his protagonist to the story. Again, very good writing. Instead of just giving us narration, he changes the writing style and gives us little clues into who our main character is.

Finally, Ellis does a great job providing thought-provoking ideas, even in this first issue. There’s an amazing scene with our main character talking about why he wants to join Front Line and what he hopes to accomplish. Interestingly enough, he calls himself “no hero”, obviously where the title comes from. I have no doubt that the rest of this series is going to focus very heavily on what it means to be a hero, and will most likely challenge the “superhero” concept that the good guys do not kill, even when the situation warrents it.

What the hell is that yellow shit?

What the hell is that yellow shit?

Some commentary on the art. Overall, I think it is very well done. There’s one interesting piece that I don’t quite get. During some of the scenes, mostly where impact is involved (like someone punching someone), there’s this yellow “dust” that kicks up. At first, I thought it was Josh, the main characters, superpower, as the first time this happens is during his first fight. However, Carrick, the leader of Front Line, has the same thing happen when he hits a button on a phone. I can’t figure out what this is supposed to represent and it really took me out of the comic when it happened (if you have any insights, please post in the comments). Other than that, the art is rich, brilliant and bloody. Juan Jose Ryp does great work. The art is both realistic in some aspects and completely stylized and over-the-top in others. think of a cross between John Romita Jr. on Kick-Ass and JRJR on Amazing Spider-man (don’t ask me why I only used JRJR in my example, he just came to mind).

If you can still find a copy at your local comic shop, you need to pick this book up. Make a special trip if you need to. I think this is going to be the independent book of the year, if not the best comic book of the year. I feel a ton of potential in this series and I know Warren Ellis won’t fail to deliver.

About The Author

Nick is a web developer at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI. He helped start this site back in 2009 as a way to share his passion of comics with readers and hopefully give advice to people on what to read and buy. When he isn't reading comics, Nick enjoys running, cycling and swimming. He is always training for his next running race or triathlon. Nick is also passionate about the outdoors. Along with his wife, Annie, Nick likes traveling to the various national parks across the country and they have a goal of visiting every national park in their lifetime. The couple lives in Grand Rapids, which, in their opinion, is the greatest city in the world. Living there helps fuel one of Nick's other passions: beer. He is a self-proclaimed beer geek and living in Beer City USA certainly helps to keep him rich in his favorite libation.

3 Responses to No Hero #1 Review

  1. Mike Rapin says:

    Just read this today. It blew my mind.

    The art was so damn detailed I couldn’t believe it. I loved it.

    As for the dust, I was confused too… probably just the art style.

  2. glovestudio says:

    Remember when he was plunging his hand into that sand stuff? Maybe it was a reference to that?