Not too long ago, I reviewed Secret Identities from Image Comics. The series is being co-written by Jay Faerber, a favorite writer of mine.
During that review, I talked about when the scripter had approached this topic from a different angle. In his Monkeybraincomics.com series Anti-Hero, a mobster discovered a hero’s identity and forced him to do his dirty work. So, you see, a secret identity can be a valuable commodity.
Imagine my delight when I discovered this week that the complete series of Anti-Hero was being released by IDW Publishing.
Here’s the basic information about the trade: “Paragon is Rainier City’s greatest super-hero. Callum Finney is a lowly henchman in mobster Liam Quinlan’s organization. When Callum stumbles upon Paragon’s secret identity, both of their lives change forever! Callum sees his ticket to true power. Paragon sees his life – and the lives of his ex-wife and children – in jeopardy. Forced to do Callum’s bidding, just how many compromises can a super-hero make before he becomes a super-villain? And how far is Callum willing to go in his quest for power?”
I was hooked on this concept right from the first moment I read it! Faerber does a wonderful job of exploring superheroes from different angles, and this one happens to be something I’ve wondered about for years – what would happen if a bad guy discovered a hero’s identity and used it to his advantage?
I’ve enjoyed Faerber’s writing for years now, including Dynamo 5 and Denari. He did a wonderful series called Venture that I also loved and hope somehow it will come back again someday.
All of these books deal with super heroes from a different perspective. I frankly LOVE that because so many longjohns titles work and rework the same storylines over and lover. Not Mr. Faerber.
From the first of these ten chapters, I really cared about Callum Finney and his terrible predicament. While trying to protect his family, he must keep his identity secret, and that stretches his morals and abilities more and more.
There are twists and turns galore as Paragon must walk both sides of the law. Can he keep everyone from finding out? I wondered if he could, but truly that’s not possible. Someone does pay the price for this situation, but who that is and who exacts the punishment surprised me tremendously!
The trick is, how does Callum deal with this situation? That’s the fun part of Anti-Hero, and there’s a wonderful final page that I still like to think about. I very highly recommend you call your comics shop right now and ask them to get one for you! It goes where no superhero story has gone before, and I love it!
The art is very good, although a little sketchy at times. Still, I thought the balance of expression and action was done well.
Will there be more Anti-Hero? If this collected edition sells well, you just never know … .
Below, be sure to check out the IDW cover, the monkeybraincomics.com cover for the debut issue, and a key panel from that same book: