Saturday, September 4, 2010

Heroes of the World: Legend of the Earth Conduit #1 & 2

Written by Vincent Galvez
Art by Joe Bonsu and Mark Williams

I'm a big fan of the work done by the Heroes of the World guys.  They are running a business that can pretty much only exist in a city like Toronto.  They design super heroes for a living - a team of four for every country on the planet.  Their designs are wonderful.  All of their teams are built on a family model (think The Incredibles), with an adult male and female, and a juvenile male and female.  It's a simple approach, which then gets modified based on design elements from the countries flag, symbols associated with that country, and sometimes cultural stereotypes (one of the Canadian heroes uses a hockey stick with metal blades).  Their work is a lot of fun, and quite inclusive.  I have seen kids from usually underrepresented or negatively portrayed countries look at their work with awe.

And now the guys at Heroes of the World have a couple of comics under their belt.  The comics are a fun read, but definitely not my usual thing.  The stories are modeled on manga, video games, and 80s cartoons like GI Joe.  In the comics, all of these superhero teams are part of UNITE, a global protection organization, designed to keep the world safe from the forces of FIST.  The teams of UNITE are run by the Journeymen (the singular of which is somehow still Journeymen), and they seem to have a complex training system that involves three-year windows, battle challenges, the use of a world guide, and, of course, legendary prophecy concerning something called the Earth Conduit.

The villains have been in hiding for some twenty years (not that UNITE stood down at all), but have now returned just as a young boy named Oreh Gaia fails his trials and is not sure if he can ever become a Journeymen.  Of course, he's the Earth Conduit, but no one knows that yet.

The art is as manga-inspired as the story, and is quite cute.  This story has a nice flow to it, and an internal logic that, while I couldn't understand it, would appeal to kids with a lot of video game experience.  The folk at Heroes of the World should be commended for the fine work they do, and the slightly amateurish nature of their comic (offset by very nice production values) should be overlooked.

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