Relative Heroes #1 (March, 2000)
“Fate and Other Accidents”
Writer – Devin K. Grayson
Penciller – Yvel Guichet
Inker – Aaron Sowd
Letterer – Bill Oakley
Colorist/Separations – Rob Schwager
Assistant Editor – Frank Berrios
Editors – Jordan B. Gorfinkel & Darren Vincenzo
Cover Price: $2.50
Hey gang, wanted to open up today with a bit of housekeeping… but can’t quite make the words “work” for me. Guess I’ll save that non-announcement for another day.
Today we’re digging back into that weird-o box to check out a book that might go well with that The Human Race book we looked at not all that long ago.
Originally conceived as “The Weinbergs” (which sounds like something that just jumps off the shelves atcha, doesn’t it? I’m having Osborn flashbacks), Relative Heroes will follow a group of orphans across the country in a Winnebago. So… let’s get right to it.
We open in the middle of the story, where the kids we’re about to meet are already on the road… being tailed by a group of costumed characters. The one named Joel appears to be our narrator… and he takes us back to where the story began. Ya see, just a few hours earlier these Weinberg kids’ parents were killed in a car accident.
There are two “blood” Weinberg kids… Joel and little Aviva. One adopted Weinberg, Tyson… one “cousin” Cameron, and a babysitter-who’s-sort-of-like-family, Damara. Upon seeing the news of their parents’ fiery death… they all seem, I dunno… cool with it?!
Joel organizes the crew… and lays out their plan. First they’ll meet up with Grandpa and collect their inheritance money (so they can buy superhero costumes, natch), then they’ll drive the Winnebago all the way across country to Metropolis so they can chat Superman up?
As they load into the Winnie… that’s when the kids start to get antsy. When they’re antsy, they start to display their powers. Tyson goes invisible, Aviva begins to surge with electricity… Damara, uh, emits pheromones that cause people to fall in love with her… and Cameron runs fast, flies… maybe both… maybe more? For the minute, however, he talks to his plant, Chloe.
As they pull away from the house, Joel reveals that his father just introduced Cameron to the family… and introduced him as a cousin… even though, the Weinberg brats had no aunts or uncles. A neighbor moseys up to the ‘Bago… to which, Cam informs her that they’re off to see Superman. Totally normal reaction to the deaths of their parents.
Before leaving town, Damara tells her mother she’s splitting for a bit to help the Weinberg family. Joel stops at the comic book store for the latest issue of Hyperman… and to tell the dude behind the counter that, with his parents now dead… he’s now got that “super-hero prerequisite” out of the way. Wow, dodge dem tropes people!
On their way out, the kids stop at a convenience store to stock up on essentials. I guess there was no food at their house. While there, they run into a group of suited D.E.O. Agents… and find themselves ambushed by those costumed characters we saw at the open.
The D.E.O. group reveals that they’re after “Project Cypher”, which… as it turns out is young Cameron. Guess that explains his powers. Doesn’t explain the rest of their powers, but it explains his!
The fight continues… the convenience store explodes, and the Weinbergs hustle back into the ‘Bago… and we’re right up to the point where we started. With the authorities hot on their trail, Joel decides now is the time to start making a real jerk of himself…. really trying to rile his fellow Weinberg’s up. He then suggests they stop the chase, and go out and fight off the D.E.O. And so, Damara and Aviva do just that. Who says chivalry’s dead.
When the D.E.O. forces are whittled down enough, the kids make their escape. We pick up with them the next morning… where Joel asks Aviva if she wants some pancakes. It’s a creepy as hell panel, and I had to include it.
We wrap up with the introduction of… a water elemental, who claims to be the fiancee of Damara?!
Well, this was all over the place, wasn’t it?
Not gonna lie, this was a difficult read. Feels like they were trying to stuff a bag two-sizes too small here. So much was going on that we didn’t really get a chance to meet (and develop any sort of interest in) the Weinbergs.
The fact that so much of the “story” is told in narrative captions was kinda rough as well. I mean, we’ve got Joel (and it took me multiple flips back and forth to make sure he wasn’t Cameron) just listing names of his skatey-eight hundred brothers and sisters. When we open an all-new story in the most confusing and difficult to follow way… it almost demands a reread. Only the story isn’t interesting enough to warrant one!
The storytelling, insofar as the art… didn’t help. The art itself looks okay however the panels don’t have all that great a flow. It’s muddled… and, again… just too much. We’ve got panels of the kids in street clothes… then costume… then street clothes… what is going on?!
The kids’ reaction… or lack of a reaction over their parents’ death… I mean… are we supposed to dislike these kids? Is the big reveal going to be that these kids are jerks, and we shouldn’t try and empathize with them? Because that’s how I’m feeling at the moment. Several decades of comic-reading experience tells me that there’s (hopefully) more to this story… but, as of this point… do I even care? Not really.
I gotta mention that scene at the comic store. Joel tells dude behind the counter about “dead parents” being a prerequisite to becoming a superhero. This comic occurs in the DC Universe… is this a trope we really want to be “known” by the ordinary rabble? I mean, I get that it’s a “cute” reference that perks our ears up a bit… but, c’mon… it’s a dumb line to say inside a DC Comic that occurs inside the DC Universe.
Overall… I can’t say that you need the Weinbergs in your life. It’s decent for a “rookie” outing… but still something of a chore. The most interesting part of this is that it was created in the first place.
(Not the) Letters Page:
|Psycomic DOT com now leads to a blank page…
I’d like to think this ad contributed to the fall.