By Chuck Wendig, Nik Virella, Romulo Rajardo Jr., Joe Caramagna
Hyperion is flying solo from the Squadron Supreme in this solo title that follows Hyperion as he takes some time from the whole superhero thing and travels across the country, trying to get familiar with the place he always sticks up for. If you are new to Hyperion, he is kind of like Marvel’s attempt at Superman; he is a refugee from another planet with abilities like super strength, atomic vision (he can shoot lasers out of his eyes), flight, and increased stamina. This issue does seem to draw on a lot of subtle similarities that exist between the two characters, and not for the betterment of the story. Last time we saw Hyperion he was with the Squadron Supreme and he killed a guy (remember the decapitation of everyone’s favorite ruler of Atlantis, Namor?). These events are what have caused him to take out on a big rig and see the country, but things do not go as planned and he gets caught up with an emo girl named Doll who needs some saving from some crazy circus folk.
Chuck Wendig is an accomplished novelist and screenwriter, and now he is taking his talents to write some comics. Honestly, many novelists do make great comic writers (Scott Snyder anyone) because they know about character development, laying down consistent themes and usually provide a great denouement for the readers. With all that being said, I hope this is true for Wendig and this series with Hyperion. So far, the story has been a good introduction to this new phase for Hyperion with the addition of a new character, Doll, to serve as a traveling companion and/or possible friend. It remains to be see if they going to continue the relationship or if this a one-off introduction of Doll for the debut issue. However, this issue does not really stand out in any way from a story perspective. The Superman similarities seem tired and boring at this point. You can appreciate the many questions Wendig introduces that you hope this series will resolve. Questions like what is Hyperion hoping to accomplish traveling across America? Why do the circus freaks want Doll back so bad? What are Doll’s special powers with machines? Why does Doll have that weird neck tattoo?
The art in this book is pretty damn impressive. With Virella at the wheel on art with coloring by Rajardo Jr., her talents really shine through. She uses a long of dark lines and intricate facial details that give this issue a gritty feel. The coloring throughout this book is remarkable as the whole issue seems to take place over the course of a day and the background lighting appears to reflect the sun slowly setting as the story takes place. On top of that, the art team did a tremendous job keep the colors focused on the characters, using mostly muted tones for backgrounds with a lot of color and detail provided to the people. They save the best for last in this book because the last page is awesome. It’s a single splash-page that delivers what the entire book was building toward. That page is a great example of what a good creative team can do between the coloring, shading, lines, and text, because it all comes together to deliver an iconic splash as a culmination to the first issue.
This first issue does a good job setting the story up to deliver an okay arc about a not so well-known character. Hyperion has been given so many varying story lines over the years, but he has never been a consistent presence in the Marvel Universe. It is nice to see Wendig going for a more human approach to the character that will hopefully endear him to fans, old and new. Honestly, the team needs to back away from the similarities to Superman, like the laser vision and the attempting to connect to the mid-west regions on the country. Hyperion needs to be established as his own character and develop trains and relationships that set him apart and endear him to readers. This series does deserve a few more issues to build the story arc and develop the characters into a hopefully great story.