“i Want Superpowers” a review of iHero

July 1st, 20130 Comments »

iHero was sent to my inbox over the weekend as a result of social networking juggernaut Twitter.  Please take a moment to “follow” them.  This is an exciting time to be a comics reader because one can produce and distribute a work today without any need for a publisher. And they are more often  honest that way.

So, on to the review then.

My first impression of iHero was genuinely this, “Why hasn’t anyone thought of this?”  We’re greeted by a title page that displays an Apple(r) iPhone(c) style home screen. Displayed are all the familiar apps that have come to make our lives easier. A calendar, an alarm clock, music.

Then there are icons for apps that read: “Strength” “Fly” “Speed” “Teleport”

The universe is set in a time when superheroes are around, but in rare form, similar to Superman and Batman in the DC universe.

A Hero named, Icon, has been around since the early 1930s and has aged no differently than any of us would.  So he’s old.  He also has a daughter being groomed like Robin for when Batman get’s too old to fight.  Or just dies.  Which he can’t, because he’s Batman. Anyway.

On the other side of the deck is Jack Taylor.  “iHeroe’s” Devil-may-care billionaire Steve Jobs. They even have the same number of letters in their names. (I don’t know why, I just look for things like that)

Jack Taylor is the proprietor of iHero, releasing the new device and marketing it in a very clever bit which is modeled after the famous “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials.

I want to focus on Luke.  He’s written a comic book that asks very good questions about the potential for human augmentation. If it were so easily available, that the advantages they granted us would probably be negated by it’s availability in the public sector.

It’s like iPad envy. It’s way cooler when you’re the only kid in class with one.  It’s still a lot of fun to use though.

Graeme Kennedy, the story’s artist, has been doing art for 5 years.  He’s probably honed his craft to a place he’s comfortable and is constantly pushing himself.

Now imagine you don’t HAVE to work as hard a Graeme Kennedy! You can just drive to the mall, park the car, approach the nearest wireless kiosk and shell out $$$ for the skills of Michelangelo, Van Gogh, and Monet…in a neat, user friendly iPhone app.  Now those apps are superpowers.

This leads to an interesting development but not as one would expect.  Which is what I loved about Luke’s writing.  If one has super speed and can finish all the paperwork that would take five hrs in five minutes, the company he works for sure as hell isn’t going to stand for that.  They’ve got a bottom line and stockholders!

So people who use an app to get all their paper pushing done at the office in five minutes start being paid hourly instead of salary.  I would love to work five minutes a day. But boredom is the devil’s seesaw..,

iHero becomes used by normal people and known criminals to do and say things they normally never would.  Like stick-ups in your neighborhood.  Using the iHero app to disguise themselves and cause mayhem, resulting in homicides.  Described by the story as the “most heinous of crimes”

Give a man real power, he’ll show you his real character, won’t he now? That was quote from Lincoln. Except for that last part.

Luke voices of dissent assemble in a dilemma for the ages:Should everyone have access to iHero? NO!

Does being an “enhancile” make all your problems go away? What about all the social issues in the world? If everyone had powers would those powers just make them a hero, or has it got a lot more to the person using them? Luke paints that idea throughout.  Not all users are heroes-and not all heroes are users.

We change a lot.  We’ve grown up with and out of a number of ideas as a race.  We are constantly changing. But the qualities that make one heroic never have.

The things that we make better don’t necessarily make us better.  And even the Icon deals with constant tests of his character and identity.  Maintaining a public image and personal life seems to be tough.  Maybe he’s socially maladjusted, maybe just reclusive.  Like our politicians and celebrities, authors, activists, businesspeople, we all have this sort of public image we sometimes put on that mask for.  And we become so used to it we forget that it’s on.

Then add superpowers to the mix! Yea! Luke brings out the character in these characters.  But that’s what he does, along with Gary Chudleigh, who looks like he worked very hard to convey all the dialogue and narration you could possibly fit into a great first shot.  The dialogue is simple, it’s very easy to follow and it’s pretty flush.  No plot holes.  He’s fitted a strong and intriguing story with action, drawn by Graeme with an impressive eye for motion in such an early package.  I’d love to see what these guys might do as they grow their own individual disciplines.

Conclusion: Fresh! That is: Very impressive, a lot of fun, and loved it’s fresh originality, I’d tell someone to check it out, if for nothing else, just for the twists, the story and characters. It’s all there and it’s just as good as anything I’ve pulled from A Comic Shop. I love that I got to read this, it might be overlooked for now and that’s fine. I knew Graeme Kennedy and Luke Halsall when they were underground. And I’d read anything they’d do together, or as individuals.

And a quick jab at the awesome publisher: www.ukcreatviecomics.co.uk


Luke James Halsall and Graeme Kennedy
@LJHalsall                   @Graeme_Kennedy




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About Jay

Jay was born July 8th 1986 and is an aspiring adult who is versed in several writing styles from poetry to short stories to hip-hop. He holds black belts in two different martial arts but has been self-trained to eat sleep and breathe comics and the people who make them. He started Inside Comic Books to get closer to the people in the comic book industry and find out if they're real or if they're all the result of his hyperactive imagination. He currently resides in Orlando, Florida. The O-Zone, if you will. If you're interested, you can email him at Jay@insidecomicbooks.com

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