Tony keeps the faith.
Issue #1 of Heroes Godsend gave us the origin story of Heroes Reborn’s enigmatic guardian angel, Farah Nazan. Issue #2 evolves that origin into her career of fairly standard, workaday heroing in New York in the wake of 9-11, and her first steps towards becoming the protector of the young blonde-haired Malina, she of world-saving destiny. What writer Joey Falco brings to what is essentially a fairly conventional superhero situation is enormous realms of texture, giving Farah’s early heroics almost a modern kickass Young Adult heroine vibe, and a sense of her own coming of age in her powers. In particular, it continues to be eye-opening that the ‘bad guys’ against whom she first plies her superhero trade are, for the most part, ordinary Americans hurt and scarred by the events of 9-11 into seeing all Muslims as ‘the enemy’ – and those within the US as very distinctly ‘the enemy within.’ Almost the first words of narration by Farah in this issue push the scale of this issue into our minds – an issue of particular relevance as Mr Trump becomes the presumptive Republican nominee on a ticket marginalising Mexicans. ‘In the six months after September 11th, the number of hate crimes against Muslims in America rose 2,000 percent,’ she tells us, showing the power of a mob mentality in response to a national outrage. For the Muslim communities of New York, their homes and neighbours suddenly became unsafe, and in many ways, they were the unreported victims of the acts of dick-witted terrorism of that day, targeted by rage that had nowhere else to go.
Farah gets her Spiderman on, using her powers of invisibility and the combat training given to her (more or less against her will) by her uncle Omar to protect the innocent and stop whatever abuse she can, becoming ‘Godsend’ in the popular press as well as in her friendly fruit-seller Youssef’s claims, and becoming in her own mind a Lashkari, one of the legendary protectors of the Sindhi tribe. But as with most traditional heroes, she has a day-to-day life to maintain too, and Farah Nazan remains, as she says, the Linguistics major who sucks at parallel parking. Her induction in to the world of Heroes Reborn comes through her unpaid internship at Primatech Paper, and in this issue, there’s a real pushing-along of the action – she meets Angela Petrelli, gets a whole heck of a lot of backstory explained to her, and then finds herself taking Petrelli’s story about the saviour of mankind on faith, and helping break a doctor out of prison so the little blonde-haired messiah can be healed.
Y’know…as ya do.
Again, what separates this from run-of-the-mill superhero fare is Falco’s texturing; he works in some solid contrast between Farah’s day-to-day reality as a student and her fierce protective spirit for those targeted by irrational hate. And when she gets recruited by the Primatech suprema, the tone gets distinctly cloak-and-dagger. It’s a textural richness that informs the artwork of this issue from Roy Allan Martinez, and the colour-choices made by Ester Salguero – dark blues for all the cloak-and-daggerwork in cars, with glorious shadows giving those sections an almost noir feel, and for instance the experience of pain being rendered in a sudden explosively scarlet panel.
The intelligence and texturing give Heroes Godsend #2 several levels on which it’s enjoyable, and push it into a league higher than standard superhero action, if never exactly challenging the most innovative work available in comic-books right now. For your money’s worth, you get some solid, fairly swift plot development, some further character-deepening for one of Heroes Reborn’s most intriguing characters, a solid dose of hip-flip fun, and that intelligent texturing in both storytelling and artistic depth, making it a comic-book worth getting and checking out. Is it going to blow the world away? Probably not, but that would be asking rather a lot of a tie-in comic-book for a series even most Heroes fans weren’t especially keen on. But what it sets out to do, it does well and with solidity of commitment, showing how events that could lead people to fury and vengeance instead motivate our hero to protect the vulnerable, and even to go above and beyond to save the life of a stranger-child she meets just once before going off to break into a prison. As is said within the pages of issue #2, some things you just have to take on faith, whether that be faith in some deity-concept or faith in each other, in the potential of human beings to be better than the acts to which rage and grief can drive them. Again, as a politicised half of the most powerful nation on earth prepares to back a man whose campaign has involved targeting of the ‘other’ in society and whose followers have been occasionally incited to violence to shut down dissent, it’s a potent lesson to pack into a geeky comic-book. We have a choice how we act in response to provocation, and arguably, if we don’t occasionally take a leap of faith in each other, the world could be doomed.
Whether or not one believes in angels, we can all make a choice to embrace a spirit of society, to have a little faith that people can be good. Let Godsend issue #2 under your skin and while it might not exactly change your life, it might just help to give you a primer in positive action even in your own busy day-to-day life.
Tony Fyler lives in a cave of wall-to-wall DVDs and Blu-Rays somewhere fairly
nondescript in Wales, and never goes out to meet the "Real People". Who,
Torchwood, Sherlock, Blake, Treks, Star Wars, obscure stuff from the
70s and 80s and comedy from the dawn of time mean he never has to. By
runs an editing house, largely as an
excuse not to have to work for a living. He's currently writing a Book.
With Pages and everything. Follow his progress at FylerWrites.co.uk