The newest collection of Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories (Volume 4) is not the place to start but the place to finish, and the finish is spectacular.
I’m a fan of Oeming’s work on Powers and United States of Murder, Inc. His angular art for some reason reminds me of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s (one of my favorite artists) work, and German Expressionist art in general. I love German Expressionism. So, I love Oeming. I leaped at the opportunity to read something that he created, wrote, and drew.
The foreword is written by Jason Martell who is apparently an expert on Ancient Alien hypotheses. That should tell you a little bit about the world you’re about to enter. The Victories are a group of “Champions” who defend Earth. They have discovered where their powers have come from: an ancient race of aliens who created the mythologies of old through genetic manipulation. That’s an awesome concept. This story follows Faustus and his band of Champions. Faustus is important for a lot of reasons that play into the epic altercation within the story.
However, let’s start from the beginning. The weakest moment of this collection was the beginning. The exposition was a little stiff. The characters seemed more like a chorus to catch the reader up than actual characters. That made the darkness, the adult flare of the series, feel a little forced. It took a little bit for me to get into the story because of this, but nearing the end of the second issue . . . here was my emotional arc as a reader: “Meh . . . hmm . . . interesting . . . WTF, a cat!? . . . holy crap! . . . that’s, woah, did he really just . . . amazing!”
Oeming’s art is gorgeous as usual, but as a writer, when it truly counts, he pulls no punches. I appreciate the heck out of that, and it is really freakin’ creative. It becomes a crazy and kind of gut-wrenching experience. Nick Filardi’s coloring only adds to the dark and surreal elements. I would recommend this. I would recommend going back to the beginning and reading everything up to this point, because the last couple chapters are really worth it.