Halcyon vol 1 from Image Comics -
"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."
-Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight (2008)
The fight is over. The superheroes have finally triumphed over the super-villains, who have been so thoroughly routed that they have fled to an alternate reality. Halcyon's members: Zenith, the mightiest woman - the mightiest of the superheroes; Sabre, the dark, brutal warrior for justice (and Zenith's lover); Jarhead, super-soldier and one man army; Transom, speedster; Enos, a mutated ape and one of the greatest known intellects alive; Triumph, mighty and nearly invulnerable warrior-woman; Agni, god of Light; and Null, the faceless, voiceless king of unarmed combat. These mighty heroes have withstood the onslaught of Oculus, leader of the world's super-villains, a megalomaniac, and possibly the greatest mind on the entire planet. Halcyon has done the impossible: won the eternal fight for truth and justice...Or have they? Oculus has returned with a plan so sinister, and so wicked, that it is impossible to believe that it just might be the best thing to ever happen to mankind. Will the superheroes stop Oculus' plot, at the cost of Utopia?
Marc Guggenheim teams with his wife, Tara Butters, to bring us this tale that asks us the question, "What happens to the super-heroes in a world where the fight for truth and justice is won?" This comic collects the series, Halcyon (issues 1-5), is packed with some very familiar archetypes. Sure there are changes, but the basic framework that we have seen in superhero comics since the beginning is still there, and the archetypes are easily recognizable. The difference in this book is that the overall humanity of the heroes is spotlighted - their desires, hopes, dreams, paranoia, pain, and yes their damages (mental, emotional) are right there near the surface for the reader to see. Once the super-villain threat is removed, most of these super-people, want to try to be just people, although it is obvious that they are more than just a bit different from everyone else, and that pains them. Some more than others. Some need to fight, or they need a war to help them define their place in the world. Others are content to try to fit in, to let things be, let the fight be over, and this is where the internal turmoil begins. Guggenheim and Butters masterfully explore some interesting themes in this comic, and reflect the stories of our favorite superheroes in a darker, more human mirror.
If you're looking for high-powered superhero tales of derring-do, this comic won't be your cup of tea; however if you're into superhero deconstruction Alan Moore-style (Watchmen, Marvelman), this book is sure to make you as pleased as punch.
RATING: 10 out of 10.