The unnamed city that our heroes patrol makes Gotham seem like Metropolis. The politicians are as corrupt as the police, and a designer drug called float is destroying society. This is a drug that can only exist in a superpowered world. The users just float off the ground and don’t really do anything. The side effects of the drug are disturbing to say the least. This is the world our “heroes” patrol, where superpowered drugs are silently allowed by a crooked system and violence seems like the best answer. These heroes are as likely to sever a hand as knock a henchman out. Sometimes, they will even get them to the emergency room fast enough to save the hand.
Into this unpleasant mix, Oeming adds the Jackal, a ruthless vigilante who takes moral outrage to a frightening extreme. He is determined not just to stop, but to punish those he feels are compromising in this compromised city. The Jackal doesn’t resort to murder in his distorted war on corruption; he relishes the opportunity to kill those he deems guilty. Faustus is pretty ruthless, but he is also reluctant to kill. The conflict between Faustus and the Jackal drives this story at a blistering clip.
The art in this comic has made it one of my new favorites. I love the messy, sketched feel that permeates through this book. The style ranges from tight and neat in flashbacks to wild and chaotic when depicting the turmoil that is simmering just under the surface of this city and its heroes. Nick Filardi’s colors do a spectacular job of adding more chaos or control to a scene as needed. This is a gorgeous book.
The Victories explores some incredibly dark places and the people who live there. There are also moments that are genuinely funny and border on self-parody. The overall result, though, is a book that blends great action with moving tragedy, as we dig down into the deepest secrets of a tortured vigilante. I love it when somebody takes a genre and molds it into something new. If you love superheroe, but are having trouble getting into superhero comic books, The Victories might just be the perfect book for you.
Four and a Half Lightly Removed Hands out of Five