Chuck Wendig (W), Nik Virella (A), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (CA)
Cover by: Elizabeth Torque
Publisher: Marvel Comics
On a less American-oriented note, here is a review on a comic slated to be cancelled later in the year. It’s a shame, because I really like this book. With that in mind, I want to champion it once before it gets axed.
This is the kind of moment where I really feel like the B-List Defender. This is a book about a far lesser known character who finally received their own solo title, and it’s getting killed less than a year into its run. Usually I really like the book getting cancelled too.
For the uninitiated, Hyperion is a member of the Squadron Supreme. There have been many incarnations of this character, some good, some evil. All versions of this character come from universe other than the mainstream Marvel Universe (Earth 616). He and the rest of the Squadron are intended to be Marvel versions of the Justice League, hence Hyperion’s powers and origin resembling Superman. This was originally done so that Marvel writers could have “crossovers” with the Justice League, even when permission from DC wasn’t available.
This particular version of Hyperion, whose other identity is Marcus Milton, is from an Earth that was destroyed in the events leading over up to Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Wars story from last year. He was an Avenger for some time, and then he joined up with a version of the Squadron Supreme comprised of members from various Earths destroyed by the Illuminati.
In this comic, he is going out to try to rediscover himself after having killed Namor, the Sub-Mariner and member of the Illuminati. He meets a girl named Doll, who is on the run from a perverse group of carnies called the Family.
In this issue, Hyperion is trying to bring down the Family from within their carnival grounds. He faces overwhelming odds, and, this time, Doll must come to his rescue.
If that sounds like very little story over the span of four issues, fear not. The pacing is actually very brisk. Something feels accomplished in every issue, and the book doesn’t leave you bored.
This series has told a very intriguing story about this character. It would be easy to write it off as a rip-off the “Superman Discovers America” story from a few years back, but this one is on a very small, personal scale. The Family are an interesting and pretty warped foe. Doll is a nice support character, and feels very unique from all the many “young woman” sidekicks that many contemporary comics use. Doll’s backstory and history with the Family give her a personal stake with the threat.
In addition, Hyperion is coming from a place that Superman has never before: Marcus is a killer. He has to come to grips with this, and he has had different experiences to influence him than the Man of Steel.
The dialogue is very good between Hyperion and Doll. Hyperion is conflicted about whether or not he wants her around. He’s trying to figure out who he is. Doll already knows who she wants him to be, but Hyperion isn’t sure if he can be that person. This creates an interesting internal tension within Marcus. Doll is very funny too, and her humor creates nice moments of levity within the overall heavy story.
The conclusion he comes to is…different, though not necessarily satisfying.
The end of this issue has Doll escaping with Hyperion, and Hyperion kills all members of the Family. He comes to the conclusion that revenge and justice can sometimes have the same goals. That’s far different than most revenge stories, but it’s not exactly a satisfying conclusion for the inherently good-natured yet conflicted Hyperion. It doesn’t necessarily kill the story, but it gives this issue a far less satisfying ending than previous issues.
The art is consistently good. The colors are strong but dark to reflect the horror-esque villains that plague Hyperion and Doll in this story. The action is good, and you get a feel for Hyperion’s strength. The design on the villains as well as the Starro-esque alien that appears in this story is very creative, and I like them a lot.
On the whole, I still recommend this book. It’s a nice read with a very likeable main character. If you’re not a big fan of where DC has been going with Superman as of late, this will probably be more to your taste (even though Hyperion is a killer). Give it a try before it goes away. Of course, the trade paperback will probably contain the entire series in one volume, so you could just wait for that too.
Final Score: 8/10