Rating: 4/5 – An Unlikeable Lead Character in an Intriguing New Series.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
It’s exciting to see Dynamite focus on creator owned material under their new Creators Unleashed line after so much time spent on licensed properties from The Shadow and Red Sonja to the Gold Key and Chaos character relaunches. Bringing on board creators like Peter Milligan is an evolution for Dynamite. Terminal Hero is Milligan’s first work with Dynamite, he’s lately been seen writing DC book such as Justice League Dark and the Red Lanterns. In this debut issue, Milligan and artist Piotr Kowalski tell the story of Rory Fletcher, a man who isn’t as good or decent as he may think he is when faced with a life changing event.
Rory Fletcher, twenty-four years old, has just a couple months to live after finding out he has an inoperable brain tumor. As he tries to cope with the news, his friend lets him know about an experimental drug that although dangerous, and with some potentially harmful side effects, could save his life. In some rather rushed pacing, Rory takes the medication and sees some initial positive results. That quickly changes when he finds that his mind becomes powerful enough to create more than just thoughts. It looks as though Rory has developed telekinetic and possibly telepathic powers, but it may even be something more than that.
Milligan takes us on a fast paced, though at times too fast, ride through Rory’s ups and downs, with the downs quickly becoming the norm as Rory becomes self destructive and quite an unlikeable character over the course of this first issue. You expect that Rory may become a hero, not only because it’s in the name of the series, but also since that’s what we’re used to. Instead he becomes something else, and someone you definitely don’t want to root for. We start to see his dark side, including a few scenes that are both disturbing and a bit creepy. Milligan is taking a gamble, creating a character that the reader will immediately start to dislike.
Piotr Kowalski’s art tells the story clearly, despite the rushed storytelling. Kowalski (who you may be familiar with from the Image series ‘Sex‘ with Joe Casey) delivers pencils that are strong throughout with a few pages show some greatness as he’s able to convey the more horrific parts of the story so well. Kelly Fitzpatrick’s colors really make those horrific moments stand out, by creatively signifying the power coming from Rory’s mind. The art is just as strong, if not stronger than the writing which is exciting for this series moving forward. There’s also a great cover by Jae Lee that makes the book pop on the stands.
Milligan’s first issue of Terminal Hero is a nice start in what looks to be a promising new series. If you go in looking for an atypical superhero book you should not be disappoint, this is not typical. The main character in this book becomes more unpleasant, and more unlikable, as the story goes on. Although there’s some pacing problems, especially at the beginning of the book, Milligan still tells an engaging and compelling story that shows Dynamite is looking to make a mark with it’s creator owned line of books. I did not like the main character involved, but I liked the story that Milligan and Kowalski are beginning to tell.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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