Comic Book Review: No Hero #1

In an effort to review more of a variety of comics, I found this one published by Avatar Comics. No Hero consists of issue 0 and the rest of the story is serialized in seven parts. The summary of issue 0 tells us that the story begins with a super group in 1966. They are guided by the man who developed drugs to give people super powers. The group fought crime and corruption as the Levellers. Now in their fourth incarnation, they are known as the Front Line. And their luck has finally run out.

Creative Team
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Juan Jose Ryp

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Summary: The story starts with a CNN broadcast. Carrick Masterson(the man with the super power drugs) is going to the funerals of Judex and Doctor Shift. The blast that killed the Front Liners equal to 11 tons of TNT. Masterson tells them to get rid of the TV crews, it’s disrespectful at a funeral. And to start looking for replacements.

A replay of a news clip has Judex saying that the homeland security people are interested in is the fact that 17,000 people were murdered in America last year. The explosion took place on the 45th anniversary of the founding of the Levellers.

Masterson is commenting that based on the feed from Shift’s suit, someone knows way too much about how FX7 enhances the body. Doctor Shift is shown in a video clip. He is saying that Masterson changes FX7 for each person. It is not even given the same way.

CNN is showing the funeral. Masterson says this is not a power trip. This is done out of love. A man is shown watching in his apartment. The reporter says the Front Line is down to four members. How do they recruit new members? The man says they watch and listen.

People are being interviewed. A lady says “Josh Carver?” She was not surprised. There was always something wrong with him. A man only knew Josh for 6 months. He hopes he is dead. A police officer cannot comment on missing persons cases. A woman in the park can’t believe he is gone.

A map of the city shows an area circled and marked Patrol Route 1. A man is jumping from a roof to a fire escape and then to the ground.

Masterson askes who is the favorite option. Another comments that a young man in Manhattan is doing everything except sending up flares to get their attention. He got sloppy and was knifed a couple of months ago. Now he doesn’t go out without a stab vest.

A couple is being held up by a three guys with a gun. If they want through they have to “pay the toll”. The man we saw earlier jumps backwards off the roof of a building. When he grabs the railing, the place he touches turns into what appears to be sand.

Masterson is being updated that the candidate is sticking to 3 patrol routes. He doesn’t use weapons and only hits people who deserve it.

The man is coming down on top of the guy with the gun. The guy collapses in a rather gruesome mess. He makes short work of the rest of the gang. He looks at the couple and says he wasn’t here and neither were they. The couple runs off. He picks up the gun and points it at someone sneaking up behind him. Masterson is behind him.

Masterson tells him he did well but he could do better. Joshua Carver recognizes him. Masterson wants to know what he is doing. Joshua says there are not enough police on the street. The ones who are there spend most of their time doing paperwork.

Masterson thinks this is the first man Joshua has killed. Joshua never jumped on someone from that high up. Masterson wants to know what he is really doing. Joshua wants Masterson to notice him. Masterson knows that Joshua wanted to show him he has the right stuff to join the Front Line. Joshua is to follow him. They approach a Hummer limo. Joshua said it wasn’t there before. Masterson says it wasn’t there until he wanted him to see it.

Masterson invites him into the limo for a drink. A woman in green and black is inside. She is The Operator, a five year veteran of the Front Line. Joshua is visibly shook up. The Operator wants to know what is wrong. Joshua says he never killed a person before. She asks what he thought would happen when he jumped on someone from three stories up.

Masterson says Joshua just over did it trying to get his attention. The Operator also overdid it to get Masterson’s attention. She stole all his money for 12 hours. He wants to know what Joshua wants. Joshua wants to join the Front Line. People are not supposed to live in fear. He wants to wait for the people who instill fear and beat the crap out of them.

Masterson asks if he wants to be a hero. Joshua says no. He killed a man. Heroes don’t kill and get over it that quickly. He wants to stand up for what is right and punish those who are wrong. Masterson wants to know how bad he wants it. Joshua says to tell him what he has to give up and he will do it.

Masterson tells The Operator to disarm it. She is holding a cell phone. If Masterson did not like what he said, she would have shoved it into his head and interfaced with Joshua’s brain. Then she would have erased his personality. What happens next? Masterson is taking him home to begin his induction into the Front Line.

As the limo leaves, they drive over the gang members. Blood is trailed behind them.

The Good: Fans of Scott Kolins European inspired art will like Juan Jose Ryp’s work here. It is very detail oriented. The other artist he seems influenced by is Geoff Darrow. If his art continues to progress, he can look forward to a very bright future.

Ryp is very good at designing the look of the Front Line members. Judex and Doctor Shift are very distinctive.

Fans of Warren Ellis’ scripts will like this series. It is tightly plotted, builds naturally, and has the mystery of who is killing the Front Line at the heart of the story. I am curious to see how Joshua goes through the process of joining the Front Line. The mystery of who is killing the Front Line has my interest.

If you like violent stories that are well written, give this series a try.
The Bad: On occasion the characters look unnatural. Most of the time they look right but the occasional akwardness does detract from the story.

If violent comics are not your favorite, stay away from No Hero.

Overall: A good start to the story. I am interested where the story goes from here. Ellis and Ryp have my attention for at least another issue.


  1. If you have no problems with violent comics, I’d advise you to check out more Warren Ellis Comics on Avatar Press. All are High Quality and certainly better than some of the mainstream comics that are getting low ratings every week;)

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