In what I consider a golden age of comics where you have the powerhouse heroes of DC and Marvel alongside a myriad of second and third tier heroes in both camps, it can be hard for any independent comic to launch new heroes and be noticed but there are a couple of things that it’s hard to go wrong with;
- A good story
- A cunning protagonist and villain
- Consistent art style
Hero Code has 3 out of 4 of these things. As the writer, Jamie Gambell, describes it; this is a superhero story in which the good guys are good, the bad guys are bad and the good guys always prevail. Simple and effective. It doesn’t try to be any more than this, and it doesn’t need to.
The story starts off with a high speed chase down a highway where one of our heroes; “Optiman” is stopping an armoured truck with 3 thugs inside who have just stolen an experimental cannon. It’s stylish, cool and it all plays out in classic hero comic fashion giving us an effective introduction to the first of our 3 heroes.
Optiman is your classic hero, a gigantic, muscle-bound man with a colourful costume, vaguely reminiscent of Captain Marvel. That’s not a knock on the design of the character, because lets face it, in this day and age, it is truly difficult to come up with a unique design that hasn’t already been done somewhere else. The problem is, other people have had a 50 year head start on their designs.
Our second hero, whose name is never divulged, seems to be from some other realm. She is seen talking with her brother, again not given a name other than “brother”, about an un-foretold event that is coming. He then flies off into the sky, leaving me, and possibly other people reading it a little bit confused as to the story behind these two characters.
I had very mixed feelings about the way this was written. I was intrigued about the two characters and that was clearly Gambell’s intention but the point of a first issue is to establish your characters and world in order to have the reader forge a connection with them. I feel a slight connection with Optiman so far, in that I know he stands up for justice and fights crime, but with brother and, more importantly, sister, they are essentially meaningless at this point in time. Hopefully, this gets fleshed out in Issue # 2.
After this, we take a bit of a dive into Batman territory, in more than a few ways. In reading this last section of the comic, I got a real Batman feeling from it, I’m a sucker for the darker, edgier side of things, especially when you start bringing the mob or other organisations into the mix, and I am excited to see where this particular part of the story goes in future issues.
Anyway, I digress. We are then introduced to some shady mob characters and what I assume will be the first of many villains of the series. The mad doctor is a trope that has been done and re-done, but again, if it is done right, then it will be intriguing and fun to see play out. but the real star of the final section is our final of the 3 heroes. Again, nameless at this point, which is a bit of an issue as I mentioned above. However, he is introduced in much the same way as Optiman and it is so effortlessly cool that I’m choosing to let the name slide for now.
The issue ends with (yet another) mysterious figure staring at 3 screens, one for each of our 3 heroes, and leaves me wanting so much more.
Great story, solid characters and tons of potential make me want to come back for more Hero Code. Kepp an eye out for this, as it’s something that could definitely be a big deal soon!
If you like the sounds of it, you can buy the issue here. There is also a prologue for Hero Code entitled “Hero Code: Theatre Of War”, a preview of which can be found here. It’s part Indiana Jones and part Superhero epic – definitely worth your time.
Hero Code was written by Jamie Gambell whose website you can check out here and you can follow on Twitter here. Jamie is one of the creators of Monkey Pipe Studios, an independent comic studio responsible for a number of comics including:
- Department O (Review of which is coming soon so stay tuned)
- Blue Knights
- And many more.
If you love independent comics, then check them out, they are a talented group.
The artist for Hero Code is Jonathon Rector, with coloring by Heather Breckel and lettering by Bernie Lee. All 3 are also co-creators of Monkey Pipe Studios.