Thursday, August 28, 2008

Review: Union of Heroes...


Photo webcomics. I've reviewed a couple to date (one being okay, the other being vomit inducing), but haven't really had the urge to review another until this one came around. Union of Heroes is a new take on superheroes by Eric W√ľnsche and Arne Schulenberg, two guys from an area in Germany called Ruhr. The big shocker that got me intrigued was the fact that they actually got a bank to FINANCE this little ditty. What kind of sweet talking they did I have no idea, but here is the result. The basic rundown is this: Marc is called upon by a stuffy looking older gentleman, who shows up out of nowhere, to replace a parallel Earths version of himself, who just happens to be The Erzengel, a fallen superhero. Did you catch that? Okay. From there we follow his attempts to figure out his powers, and to discover the hero inside. Union of Heroes updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

It's always a little tricky to review the "art" of a photo webcomic, as it's not the traditional form that they take, but hey, photography is a great artform unto itself. Done right, the potential for great scenes and emotion is there. Is it here? The camera used takes some stunningly clear and brightly lit photography, and the backdrops are always nicely setup and almost movie quality. There is also a good variety to the camera positions as to not have a static feel to the panels. I enjoyed the photogenic actors, even though they did have cheesy looks on their faces once and a while. It must be difficult to convey the right emotions in a webcomic without coming across as looking goofy. Kudos to them on their acting abilities. You can tell that they are having fun with this.

Seeing as how this is a superhero comic, inevitably there will be special effects involved. I'm glad to say that the small amount used so far aren't as tacky as they could have been. The hand-melding-to-a-shelf effect looked decent enough, but what I'm waiting to see is a knock down, drag out superhero brawl. How will they pull that off? Can't wait to see....

With every good superhero comes a good origin story. Now, with The Erzengel already established as Marc from a parallel Earth who somehow died in the line of duty, we are left discovering his powers along with him. The power of being able to meld with metals and shape them to his will. To do other things not explored yet. How does he cope with what's going on around him? Strangely and a little bit unbelievably. The translation is somehow distorted from German to English, with lines like the one in the panel above, but it's not so bad that you can't read it and still enjoy the comic. By strangely coping, if you read the comic you'll see that Marc responds to a complete stranger being in his place by coming at him with a bat. Something you and I would do, right? But all this stranger has to do is offer him an omelette and he sits at the dinner table. What the heck? I would have caved that guys forehead in a second! Also later, after explaining that he is from a parallel Earth and that Marc is to become The Erzengel, the stranger asks him if he will go with him to this place. What does Marc do? Heck yeah he'll go! Wouldn't you if some crazy man showed up and offered to make you a hero on another world? Yeah, didn't think so. I just feel that more time should have been taken to show Marc at least CONSIDER that this dude could be a psycho homeless guy or something. Okay, the good. These guys are doing a decent job of setting up the comic, aside from a few pacing problems. I found myself anticipating seeing our hero go through the hiccups of attempting to be a superhero, which is yet to come. Marc is a likable guy who isn't without faults, and The One Who Knows reminds me of Giles from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. These two will make a good team, I can tell.

I do believe I'll be following this comic to see what becomes of The new Erzengel, and to see how they pull off all of the special effects required for a superhero webcomic. A decent webcomic, and the best photo one I've seen yet. It's a good story so far, and I can see this one building up to be a good action drama in the future. I'll bet if you give it a chance you'll at the least find it a guilty pleasure. Check this one out. It's not often you get to see a German superhero in the making.

I give Union of Heroes...
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6 comments:

Mike Sieber said...

Good review. I didn't see a link for the comic in the post, but I'll check it out. Looks interesting.

www.charlyandcompany.com

Jack Carter. said...

Ack! I knew I forgot something! Fixed!

Anonymous said...

Lord, man. The fact that you would review this as highly as you have discredits anything you have ever and will ever say about web comics. I've been reading your stuff for a while, but c'mon. This is atrocious.

I had some amount of respect for your opinion before, but sadly, this is where we part.

Jack Carter. said...

Someone didn't like my reviewwwww....:)

Nick said...

Anonymous is an idiot (as are most "anonymous" posters, but that's a whole other post).

This comic is exceptionally well done. Good pacing, camera work, and "acting" all around. I'm definitely going to keep following it. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention, Jack!

Jack Carter. said...

No problem, Nick. I enjoyed it because it had really good production values for a webcomic, and I want to see what they can do with a superhero. I didn't find it atrocious at all.