As we have allowed it to develop, the world itself may be the actual greatest villain in One-Star Squadron #5, a masterful showcase of emotion, misdirection, and guilt amongst brightly colored characters. As the synthetic man Red Tornado “leads” a complex cast of cast-off heroes desperate for relevance, their struggles have a much higher cost than any of them anticipated.
Heroz4U is a kind of “Taskrabbit for superheroes,” where you can rent costumed adventurers to entertain at your kid’s party, handle security for an executive, cut the ribbon at your new strip mall, or whatever you need. On the eve of the company’s sale for parts, the main offices are burned down, and all fingers point towards a disgruntled recently fired employee, the alt-universe Kryptonian turned corporate shill called Power Girl. The story takes several turns and twists as the question is answered, and — this is no spoiler — the true villains get away with all of it.
Writer Mark Russell presents a tableau of hopelessness and ennui with such depth of character and offhanded humor (“Do you work here?” “As much as I work anywhere”). Meanwhile, the visual presentation of Steve Lieber, Dave Stewart, and Dave Sharpe is remarkable, with the dry cleverness of Keith Giffen and the emotive effectiveness of Kevin Maguire. There’s a bit in a storage closet that’s one of the most effective bits of visual storytelling in some time.
There’s a lot to like here, and it’s powerful storytelling that builds this penultimate chapter of this unexpected treasure into something great. RATING: BUY.
One-Star Squadron #5
By Mark Russell, Steve Lieber
After an unfortunate accident at Heroz4U headquarters, all the employees are under investigation for the moment it all went up in flames! Now Red Tornado has stepped forward, ready to tell the truth. Could one of our heroes actually be a villain in disguise?
One-Star Squadron #5
Review by Hannibal Tabu
Looking at things lost in the fire may not be easy, but with this superlative issue, it’s absolutely some of the best work you’ll read this month.
Paul Kaminski, Brittany Holzherr, Chris Rosa