Sirk TV Graphic Novel Review: THE HERO – BOOK 1 [Dark Horse]
The texture of the graphic novel “The Hero” is born out of the idea of Greek myths but in many cases the saccharine methodology takes away the truth of the darkness these tales are trying to portray. In “The Hero – Book 1” [David Rubin/Dark Horse/280pgs], David Rubin unfolds the ideal in an almost brutish, cantankerous way while mixing in some tonal hints almost of “Evil Dead”. The speed of Hermes is now reflected in a convertible Cadillac. A bean meant to cross the River Styx turns into a cell phone. Hermacles is the cornerstone of the book. As The Hero, he in fact becomes his own worst nightmare when a curse or a warning makes him go mad resulting in the death of his wife and children. The way it is relayed purveys a sense of PTSD and adheres to the same kind of psychological removing of the figure both in stature but here with a change in color. This is a king of the Greek world and he becomes a hermit because he can’t forgive himself. He eventually is coaxed back into the light because the people believe that it wasn’t his fault. He was simply triggered by evil forces. This is a continuing motif in this volume but what keeps progressing him is a sense of love. The key element though that Rubin doesn’t shy away from is the darker aspects of human nature, sexual or otherwise. It is this boundless cruelty of man (and The Gods by extension) that begins to undermine The Hero again. No matter what bounds of war may bolster him, the breaking of his will in private is what undoes his psyche. This is very succinctly and well focused on especially as the book closes. The colors and progression of pages float between lurid bubblegum colors and then the dark recesses of confused blood with the lettering just peppering enough to give you a sense of the emotion. A background of the stories ranging from Hades to Medusa helps but are overarching metaphors anyway. The key is. like Perseus, or even the suffering Prometheus, is survival. Hermacles does so but only by the skin of his teeth.
By Tim Wassberg