Tony finds issue #5 a godsend.
Colour me relieved.
I was worried that Heroes Godsend would end, like Heroes Vengeance before it, in a state of rush and flummery, meaning the impact of the previous four issues was lost.
Nope – not here.
Godsend #5 does pretty much everything it should, pretty much the way it should – it brings the events of the previous four issues to a head, displays the fundamental character of our heroine, both in terms of her religion and her independence of spirit, both of which act as key motivating forces to her life. It shows her book smarts translated into street smarts and her commitment to her community. It gives us an epic slapdown fight, and a reveal that manages to be genuinely surprising, followed by a twist that pulls us on into potential future iterations of a Godsend comic-book.
So – job done then.
The final issue of at least this iteration of Godsend’s backstory maintains a standard of excellence that has permeated the story from the beginning, the tale of this Islamic Hero and how she turns from a relatively aimless, modern New York teenager into someone aware of her family’s history in Pakistan after the death of her parents, and the deaths of so many other people, on 9-11. How she uses the time she’s spent out there, training with her uncle and learning of the presumably mythical warriors who came to protect her tribe in times of trouble, and how, in the wake of 9-11 and the anti-Muslim sentiment it generated in the city – and throughout the Western world, because never let it be said that the Western world had a grasp of religious or social subtlety – she discovered her EVO nature, and decided to translate it into the actions of one of those mythical, mystical warriors, protecting her community far from their original home, but settled in their new one, from the onslaught of both civilian violence and something rather more organised and sinister.
Godsend as we meet her in the Heroes Reborn TV show has become a kind of ever-reliable guardian for the young blonde saviour of the world, and while this comic-book series has touched on the beginnings of that relationship, it’s to its credit, and the credit of writer Joey Falco, that this storyline really has focused on Farah in her younger days, allowing there to be many things that are important to her back then.
In the final issue, having realised the feelings she has for local boy and – as it turns out – fellow EVO Jamal, only to have him stolen away after a clash with the Kingpin-sized Mr Vance, and EVO of an entirely different kind and ethical persuasion, Farah is faced with some big decisions. Should she let the ‘Powers-That-Be’ handle Jamal’s disappearance, and the connection they’ve discovered between the racist attacks in their community and the buying up of properties by a single development firm? Or should she go running in like the warrior she feels like?
There’s a very significant pause for breath in this issue, which you wouldn’t ordinarily think there was time for, but Falco demands we follow him, and makes it an easy ride for us into the boardroom of the developers, where we discover one or two crucial details that make a final showdown make sense. The surprise we get when everything falls into place is highly satisfying because of that pause for breath (and even thinking clearly, we don’t see it coming). And, with Godsend established by the end of the issue as a Hero among Heroes, the additional twist takes us completely by surprise, and gives us a final air-punch of intrigue to lead us onward.
The artwork by Roy Allan Martinez, and colourwork by Ester Salguerro, if anything raise their game in this final instalment, with early panels using shadow and light to extremely good effect as hulking figures fill doorways into darkened rooms. There are solid poster pages too – one showing Farah and Mr Vance in a blood-red split-screen to show their approach of each other like Old Western gunslingers is especially effective. And Vance himself is drawn with a scale and a monstrosity that’s entirely creepy – he seems, Cheshire Cat-style, to have too many teeth for any one mouth to bear, and otherwise to be built from a bumper pack of parts, again, similarly to the Daredevil’s chief enemy, the Kingpin. More than any of this though, there’s a sense of fluidity and movement that even invests the technical cut-away to the boardroom scene with tension and action, showing us important things while giving us the breath we need for a major slapdown fight to satisfy our good-triumphing-over-evil itch.
Overall, Heroes Godsend #5, and Heroes Godsend as a whole, has been a textured, complex, relatable origin story of a modern girl finding her own history, her own place in the world, whatever the world might think about it, and ultimately saving her own community through her refusal to simply accept the status quo. It’s also possible, given the ending, that she’s en route to save much, much more than that – but that would be telling.
Pick up Heroes Godsend #5 today – or wait till the collected edition, which will free you from the issue-by-issue anxiety generated by Heroes Vengeance. Heroes Godsend transcends that first story in terms of its pace, its plotting, and to some extent the texture and depth of its character story, at least inasmuch as while there are three El Vengadors to keep your eye on in that first tale, there’s only one Godsend, and the dedication to her single story here makes for a far more satisfying origin.
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