Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lesser Known Joe Casey Comics: Heroes Reborn: Masters of Evil

[Continuing my look at some of the lesser known comics by Joe Casey. The annuals, the fill-ins, the one-shots, and the forgotten runs. With each, I will answer one question: should the book remain forgotten? New posts Monday, Wednesday and Friday.]

Produced along with four or five other one-shots during some month back in 1999, Heroes Reborn: Masters of Evil takes us back to the "Heroes Reborn" universe. Remember "Heroes Reborn"? Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld do the "Ultimate" thing before the "Ultimate" thing? Lasted only a year because it sucked ass? Concluded with a crossover with Wildstorm?


Casey teams with Charlie Adlard here for a story that has very little to do with anything. The Masters of Evil in this book are the Black Knight (Garrett), Whirlwind, Radioactive Man and the bed-ridden Melter. Not the most auspicious group. The conceit is that, with the heroes gone, villains have the run of the place and these guys are just petty thugs, basically.

The issue has two plots: Garrett's attempts to raise himself above his low status and Whirlwind coming to grips with the fact that he doesn't like his life. The ideas behind this issue are great, but, sadly, the execution is lacking. I don't want to call this comic boring, but... it's pretty fucking boring.

Scenes that should be packed with witty dialogue and fun "supervillains as real people" stuff don't have anything to them. Whirlwind and Radioactive Man are in a diner in one scene and it leads nowhere beyond establishing that RM doesn't talk.

What the issue seems to suffer from is its ties to the other "Heroes Reborn" one-shots. Casey does his best to make those ties interesting, like Garrett's appeal to Dr. Doom to serve him, but his efforts are wasted.

There is a rather funny scene where Whirlwind interviews the Titanium Man and Crimson Dynamo for positions as Garrett's bodyguards that turns into a fight between the two as they gleefully attempt to show off how awesome they are.

Should the book remain forgotten? I'm going to have to go with "maybe" here. While the actual comic isn't that great, the ideas behind it are pretty solid and I've gotten enjoyment out of the hints towards something better. As well, Charlie Adlard's art is great. (I never know what to say about art. Dammit.) The format and editorial constrictions make this a much worse comic than it should be. Could be worth a look if you see it in a quarter bin somewhere.