January 20, 2012

Saga of the Power Heroes Book One

Written by Derrick A. Rivers
Illustrated by Derrick A. Rivers
Self-Published

Titan is patrolling the streets when a mysterious beam transports him to a new location.  He's soon joined by other heroes, who have been gathered for a noble purpose.  Metal Hawk wants them all to work together--but can they?  When a deadly foe puts the theory to the test, a new world of heroes is born in this opening issue from Derrick A. Rivers.

One of the great things about self-published comics is that if you have the time, inclination, and ability, you can create anything you want.  Some people go for abstracts, others raw imagery designed to shock.  There are people who write out their stories of personal pain and struggle while others build whole pages around a clever joke.

In the case of Derrick Rivers, this comic and the series that follows it is his love letter to Marvel Comics.  Though the characters are modified, of course, it's clear that this series is designed to be an homage to the Avengers and a time when superhero comics were a lot clearer in terms of who were the villains and who were the heroes.  As a person who grew up on the same comics that Rivers did, I can appreciate his desire to work within that mold, as there really are very few comics out there right now that follow those guidelines.

The story itself is a pretty familiar one to any longtime reader of superhero comics.  A hero feels that teamwork is necessary, there's doubt and confusion, and ultimately, they pull together in the end.  Each character gets to show off their powers and their value to the team, and it ends with the promise of more adventures against powerful foes.

While it's true that there's not a lot new to be had in Saga of the Superheroes, I appreciate its honesty in that regard.  This is a man having fun with his work, creating characters from archetypes and giving them cool adventures.  It's a bit like a visual version of playing with toys, and I don't mean that in a bad way.  The artwork and character designs are better than average for this type of book, and it's amazing that a fan comic like this can have more diversity in one issue than DC and Marvel can manage in a year.  Some of the dialog is a bit corny, but that matches up with the feel of the comics Rivers is emulating.

Overall, I had fun reading this.  It was an enjoyable romp with likable characters and made me smile as I imagined Mr. Rivers acting out these ideas in his head before writing them, just like I used to think about the adventures I might create for my favorite heroes.  This is a comic you can easily give a child with no reservations, or read to them with a knowing wink about the source material.  Saga of the Superheroes is going to be of appeal only to a specific subset of comics readers, but for the right person, it would be the perfect fit.  You'll know on a quick glance if it is for you.  If you think it might be, don't hesitate to grab it.  I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy.