I have to confess, the DC New Age of Heroes has me a little leery. I lived through the 90’s as a comic fan, which means I was cognizant of ‘Bloodlines,’ which saw DC Comics try to integrate new, gritty, edgy heroes into their publishing line. It was……very 1990’s.
So, when DC announced their new imprint featuring new, gritty, edgier heroes on the tail of Dark Nights: Metal, I was naturally nervous. Reading through Dan Abnett’s and Jon Romita Jr’s Silencer gave me a bit of a flashback, but also successfully brought a bit of quality interest.
WHAT GAVE ME 90’S FLASHBACKS:
- Some of the names these characters have…good Lord. “Killbox,” “Blood Vessel,” and “Breacher.” You can almost hear Rob Liefeld licking his lips.
- Big guns and cyber-jargon. The explanation to Killbox was extremely nostalgic, as this big dude was loaded full of deadly, overly complicated components.
- The color palate was frustratingly bland. I don’t know why Dean White opted to use the colors he did, but they seemed way-too dark with way too many earth tones, and when he did venture out to brighter colors they contrasted distractingly.
- Silencer’s real name is Honor Guest. Woof.
- JRJR’s artwork. Unfortunately, for me at least, his sharp work is intrinsically linked with 90’s storytelling, as some of his best work arguably came from that era.
WHAT TICKLED MY FANCY:
- JRJR’s artwork. Despite his art’s mental connections to the most notorious age of modern comics, this really is some of his strongest art in quite some time. His linework, accentuated by Sandra Hope, look fantastic. This is the kind of detail-oriented quality I’ve been missing in the last few years, with nary a trace of Same Face to be found.
- The family dynamic. Abnett and Romita hit a home run with how Honor’s family life is displayed in this issue, with her son being an adorable kid and her husband being a doting, loving man. The way they talk is organic, and they seem to really have a good thing going.
- Talia al Ghul’s appearance. Thankfully, this also didn’t seem forced, and it was fun because of how believable it was: Talia has done a LOT of shit off camera, so it isn’t hard to believe she is coming to one of her best former agents to give her a heads up. Whether or not it all comes back to Talia in the end is another matter…
- Silencer’s power. The bubble of noise negation is fun when you take the time to consider the myriad ways it can be used, especially in close-quarter combat scenarios. It really allows for some cool scenarios for her to use her power.
- The action sequences are pretty damn cool. Silencer’s brutal fight with Killbox is choreographed extremely well, and here is where White’s color choice was sublime: within the silence bubble things were vibrant and brutal. Romita and Hope really laid out some ferocious fighting.
All in all, I was pretty satisfied when I finished the issue. I would like to know how this all ties back to the opening scene in the book, and I’d LOVE to see Honor’s power used in more combat situations. I’d recommend this to someone looking for a fun new book.