A Hero’s Death is a superhero story doused in the sort of humanity and vulnerability that other tales of a similar ilk often miss entirely.
The story begins to unfold twenty years after the death of, The Hero, a caped female warrior on the side of truth and justice decked out in a Superman-esque outfit with added cleavage. We meet Laura Halsey, a reporter whose mission to refresh the memories of a city that has forgotten about The Hero, brings her to the door of cranky pensioner, Miss Weller.
Miss Weller, on face value a sort of Gremlins, Mrs Deagle, in a dressing gown, is one of the few people who witnessed first-hand the demise of The Hero on that fateful day twenty years earlier.
From here on in, writer, Ricardo Sanchez, takes us between the current day of Miss Weller’s apartment and the last day of the Hero two decades ago. Readers get to watch the events unfold and witness the details that led to the Hero’s end, and in all honesty it’s a real heart-wrenching read. The Hero is a character who cares about those needing her help, she bursts with empathy, but also we see how she piles immense pressure on herself via this desire to keep everyone safe from harm.
Narration tells us, “The Hero hated the sound of the siren. It meant she was already too late. She’d missed something.”
It’s a line that speaks volumes within the fabric of the tale. It ultimately leads to the final day of The Hero and allows readers to understand how the fear of failure can be crippling, and the realisation of its reality can be fatal.
The story brings a genuine vulnerability to the superhero world and it works brilliantly. On the surface we have a constantly unruffled hero, diving into the heart of danger and coming out unscathed. But inside we get to glimpse a hero who appears to harbour doubts that she is enough, and constantly wants to do more for the people of the city.
The artwork from, Mark Texeria, is wonderful. The current and past hold delicate subtleties that separate them on the page. A gentle vintage appearance washes over the days of The Hero in action and actually gives the comic a genuine retro feel, whilst the colours are fractionally more vibrant in the current day of the apartment. The work has a beautiful painted appeal that really allows the attention to detail to shine. Texeria’s talent for facial expression and emotion pours from every character and no panel is ever wasted.
The main body of work is fleshed out further by the addition of some text only pieces and some pinup artwork posters of The Hero.
As a complete package, A Hero’s Death, is a work of outstanding quality. The main story is gentle yet violent, heart-warming yet heart-breaking and magical yet rooted in the day to day of life. Basically, it’s absolutely superb!