First off, I want to say I liked Hero Happy Hour. The concept is unequivocally cool, especially for a big superhero geek like me, who has lived out this fantasy in my head quite a few times. The basic setup is that there is a bar and superheroes like to go there to get plastered after work, and life ensues. What better way to show that superheroes are people than to show their debilitating struggles with addiction, erm . . . I mean, love of booze.
A word about the art, at first I didn’t know what to think of it, but the more I read the more I enjoyed the visual style. It’s not pretty but it’s not supposed to be. Everything is happening in a dive bar where the superhero show for the camera is all but discarded, and problems are left out in the open. A dark, pulpy, noir style fits this type of comic quite well.
I had an issue with believability early on. I love the concept, but the idea just seems to be a bad one, especially if anyone can just walk in, and, several times throughout the course of the book, people just do.
Illogical placement aside, the real issue I have is with the characters and their dialogue. The comic seems to dance around the idea of real emotions, and everything seems to revert to the status quo without any of the characters doing anything drastic. Now, this is the first trade paperback, and the creators might have wanted to draw the drama out for later comics, but, unfortunately, this results in these passive aggressive standoffs between characters that quickly get shoved under the rug and lead to a bit of misplaced angst.
The characters do mix together well but feel a bit like DC and Marvel superhero clones with the names changed to avoid copyright infringement. Creating original superheroes is challenging, but the bigger issue is that the characters being superheroes felt more like a prop than the concept. You could substitute any bunch of uninformed individuals and still attain the same results with only minor changes to dialogue and interactions.
I think the author was attempting to humanize superheroes, but he missed the mark. He made a hell of a good effort and the elements were all there, but the dialogue just flows unnaturally. The characters are all spouting cliche lines in cliche interactions.
A good example is when the book hosts a girls’ night for the female characters. What ensues is a sure sign that the author is neither a girl nor has never attended a girls’ night. It felt sexist, and forced, where all the females were talking about were their own breasts and the superhero men they wanted to bang, and I thought “Blimey, wouldn’t it be nice if they talked about . . . I don’t know . . . things normal people talked about. Geopolitics, or how much they love bacon . . . No? Okay, that is just me.”
I don’t know about everyone else, but when I go and hang out with my buddies from work, we do talk shop, but we talk about other things, as well. That was the major issue the dialogue suffered from; it was all shop talk. When you go to the bar after work with some friends, shop talk inevitably pops up, but the whole point is to try and forget about the fact that you were just at work for 8 hours.
This review might seem harsh, but I enjoyed the comic book quite a bit, and I loved the concept, and I think it is a fantastic risk the creators have taken here. Moreover, this is a collection of their first few issues. If you like the superhero genre, you will probably enjoy this book, but if you’re looking for a solid, talky comic, you might want to move on.
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