Tony finds some answers.
In the wake of recent events, there’s an easy way to be an enormo-dick about issue #4 of Heroes Godsend. Farah Nazan is a lone vigilante, inspired and informed by her Islamic faith, technically taking violence to meet violence and intimidation on the streets of Queens, New York, outside the law.
Let’s not be enormo-dicks though, shall we? Let’s be better than that. People of all faiths and none are inspired by their belief systems every day to make their community and the world at large a fundamentally better place. If occasional fuckheads are inspired by the same belief systems to fill the world with death and horror, it doesn’t earn them the right to taint the work of all the groovy people. The groovy people outnumber them almost infinitely, after all. That’s one of the things that so annoys the fuckheads in the first place.
It’s a point almost explicitly made here in issue #4, when, in a flashback to her time with her Uncle Omar in Pakistan, Farah struggles to find the answer to the question ‘Why do we pray?’
She stumbles onto two answers eventually. We pray to give thanks, and we pray to seek out answers to that which plagues us. We don’t pray because some book tells us to – that answer earns her a rap on the knuckles. We pray to give thanks, and to find answers to what plagues us.
Those are words to help the grieving.
They help Farah in this issue when, still in the long aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, she finds that over time the neighbourhood in which she grew up is being systematically closed down and bought up, as the anti-Islamic violence continues. She prays to understand the enemy that wants her and people like her to be invisible, to be gone from the place where they have made their home for decades or generations.
When she discovers the common link in all the buying and building is a single company, she finds the answers to what plagues her. Surely, she reasons, it would make sense that the single greatest beneficiary of the violence against Muslims would perhaps have a hand in that violence?
Feeling the need to not be alone in the world with her suspicions, Farah turns to Jamal, the guy she’s been attracted to for a while, but who she’s never been more than friendly with.
Jamal, it turns out, has secrets of his own and together they are stronger, by day as their relationship progresses into new territory, and by night as they try to hunt down the people responsible for terrorising and destroying their neighbourhood.
By the end of the issue, Godsend faces a crisis, the like of which she’s never faced before, and as we run headlong towards issue #5 of five, there’s a sense of wariness on the part of the reader, because Heroes Vengeance, the first Heroes Reborn comic-book arc, had the same richness, the same depth and integrity and backstory – annnnd then blew its finale with some weak, hurried writing. We really hope Heroes Godsend doesn’t go the same way because Farah feels like she deserves a decent resolution to her origin story, and while there are plenty of story-threads as yet left dangling which need to be tied up, she is at least the same person who appears in the TV version, rather than, as with Heroes Vengeance, the whole comic-book being essentially the life of one brother before the other became the character viewers have come to know.
Writer Joey Falco achieves a fine single-issue balance here between backstory and philosophical underpinning, and the business of advancing the foreground plot, taking us on the journey of Godsend in miniature, from uncertainty and ignorance to being the kind of person who can find the answers to what plagues her – and then do something about them. That she gets there partially through her faith makes sense for this particular character, though her physical training with Uncle Omar and her EVO gift are helpful too.
The artwork from Roy Allan Martinez in this issue is a little more abstract and vague than it has been in some other issues, and there’s one panel in which you could be forgiven for thinking Farah’s growing a beard, but the visuals allow for a rapid read, helping you on without holding you back. Ester Salguero’s colourwork is highly effective too, particularly in the Pakistan flashback scene, where the differing light sources in panels with a wood fire and panels looking straight up at a sky full of stars give a striking note in terms of the colours and the impact they make.
All in all, the balance of this issue is what makes it remarkable, and the timely words on prayer and on the kind of person we more or less all strive to become, irrespective of a faith or non-faith – thankful, thoughtful, practical and effective – makes Godsend #4 one to pick up, almost irrespective of whether you’re following the series arc. If you are, it works in pure storytelling terms too, the only misgivings being a hope that Godsend avoids the Heroes Vengeance fate of a botched ending in its final issue.
Here’s to finding out the answer soon.
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