Minute Man isn’t a big name among superheroes. A legacy hero, he depends upon the Miraclo drug created by Rex Mason for his vigour, but unlike the original Hourman he doesn’t get 60 minutes of strength – the clue’s in the name. A minute of super powers isn’t going to get you into the Justice League. And if you lose access to the drug by legal means, you may feel pushed to try other routes.
Minute Man gets his grail, but not the bodyguard gig he wants from Heroz4U – again, it’s the 60-second thing. After a row with manager Red Tornado, he agrees to take on a birthday party.
More powerful metahumans are needed to escort an app developer to a meeting with shady businessman Lex Luthor, and Firehawk and Plastic Man get the gig. They have their eyes opened when they see that Heroz4U isn’t the only game in town.
And all the while, Heroz4U second-in-command Power Girl is briefing against Red Tornado.
After the debut issue’s rather depressing spotlight on Gangbuster, we get a rather depressing focus on Minute Man. Mark Russell’s story thread is very readable, and his pops at government and the fleeting nature of fame seem fair. Still, a little more light along with the shade would be appreciated.
It could be that these first two issues are simply getting the gloomy stuff out of the way, showing us the miserable lives of people Heroz4U attracts before letting some light in. The title, ‘Rock bottom’, certainly hints at that… maybe these Super Sad Sacks are going to save the world. I do hope so,
I did enjoy this issue, Russell’s script is entertaining, with an unexpected character cameo and the promise of more from the severely underused Firehawk. Bonkers villain Sportsmaster is always welcome, and I’m glad to see the return of the Hench app which, if memory serves, Russell debuted in his Wonder Twins series.
Steve Lieber’s expressive artwork ensures every nuance is right there, whether we see it on first reading or not; the body language, the facial expressions, are masterful. Within a couple of panels I was feeling Minute Man’s pain, and that takes real talent. His Plastic Man is the best I’ve seen in years. Plus, he gives us a puppy in a party hat. Daves Stewart and Sharpe lend support with clever colouring and precise lettering.
Lieber and Stewart’s striking cover will surely shift some copies, who wouldn’t want to know what’s going on here?
With so many Batman books it’s great to see the wider DC Universe, so whatever Russell and Lieber, two brilliant craftsmen, do before the end of this six-part mini-series, I’ll be there.