By Chuck Wendig, Nik Virella, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Joe Caramagna
Hyperion #2 is here and if you are seeing this series through to the end, this issue will reward your patience with a fun-filled issue that is starting to find some humor and action with these characters. This issue goes places you would want a Hyperion comic to go, places with weird off-beat villains and fun relatable sidekicks that help make a character like Hyperion fun. The first issue was a little stiff, with a predictable plot and unimaginative new people, but Hyperion #2 settles in very nicely with Doll and her dog serving as a sidekick to the mighty Hyperion as they solve a bona fide murder mystery.
The question remains if Hyperion can carry a solo series and Wendig has not fully convinced me after this second story. Yes, the story is improving with each issue, but without Doll, Hyperion as a solo character is not interesting. Wendig is playing at Hyperion fulfilling some kind of penance for his past crimes against humanity by posing as a truck driver named Marc. Hyperion is a foreigner to this universe, his own was destroyed and with that his own identity was destroyed. In his own universe he had purpose as a superhero and teacher, and he knew and understood the moral code of his people. In this universe, things are very different and he finds he cannot just resume the same roles he played in his old universe. Wendig cleverly hints and teases at the mysterious back story surrounding Hyperion and has Doll attempt to uncover as much as she can. The key to winning at this story is in how Doll comes across. She needs to be likable, relatable, and provide an interesting storyline herself for the readers to be invested in her and Hyperion’s relationship. This issue makes great strides toward accomplishing some of those goals and the best thing Wendig could have done was write in a canine companion for Doll. The addition of a dog to add levity and humor to different panels through art and dialogue was a pure surprise and delight to find this issue. However, there is a lot of room to grow Hyperion’s personality beyond the whole ‘morally conflicted reluctant superhero’ thing. Doll has become more likable with this issue, but as her own story grows with the circus pursuing her, we have to be invested in her own well-being to really care what happens. If we do not care about Doll or Hyperion and what happens to them, no one will continue to read this series. It remains to be seen if Wendig will really grow that connection for the readers with the two main characters.
One thing that was consistent in Hyperion #2 was the art featuring pencils from Virella, colors from Fajardo Jr, and letters from Caramagna. The art is an example of what a great looking comic book should be, with each scene enhanced by great color, shading, layouts, and cool design. The story opens up in an almost horror movie set-up, with an unsuspecting couple in a car and our apparent new bad guy who can become all wormy and octopus like. The design on this bad guy is gross and interesting enough to occupy the reader’s attention to follow the story until the end. Another great addition to this issue is the dog! How fun was it to see a whole page layout to show a great interaction between Hyperion and the dog. The panels were beautifully laid out to show the full interaction of Hyperion getting licked by this dog and you can see Hyperion become relatable just from his reaction shot to this pup. The creative team does an impressive job adding in fun little addition to pages that makes this book fun to read like Doll’s little Hyperion notebook filled with related newspaper clippings and photographs of all Hyperion related things.
Hyperion #2 definitely starts to find its voice with the more lighthearted approach to the relationship between Hyperion and Doll. The additional plot of a new bad guy made of worms provides an interesting scenario to play out this new dynamic of hero and sidekick and build some connection and investment from readers, but the story still feels a little stiff at times and needs some work introducing Hyperion and what kind of person/hero he is. When the high point of a story is the introduction of a dog, a possible soft target for a future bad guy, it does not really speak well to the story so far. All we can do is hope each issue keeps getting better and maybe eventually we as readers can begin to care about Hyperion.