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Noble Causes Volume 5: Betrayals
posted February 3, 2006
Jay Faerber, Fran Bueno
Image Comics, $14.99, 2006
reads like an abandoned superhero series from DC Comics circa 1998. The concept is the kind of thing they try to imprint on a soap opera or science fiction genre piece every now and then: the Kennedy-style rich and famous family. Our "in" is a non-superhero character who marries one of the Noble Family superhero people, the bland one that runs fast. I think the non-superhero character's name is Liz -- the comic books come with a breakdown list that make keep track of the characters much easier, by which I mean "possible" if you have my attention span. Anyway, after an issue in which that central relationship is explored -- if only being a patronizing dick like fast-runner guy is was as easy to explain away as he manages to do -- you got a really loosely plotted adventure on another, magical-style planet (or dimension, not sure) intermixed with a brain-switching subplot.
The comic's not badly done; I might have liked it when I was 12. The main problem with it is that it doesn't do anything with its central premise except find ways in which that premise serves the superhero genre. A lot of comics are like this, but proving that superheroes have a kind of junky flexibility doesn't mean that you get anything worthwhile out of the final, pulled-taffy result. If you really like your basic Silver Age superhero dramas and want to see them infused with the sophistication of a low-level UPN soap opera, this may be the book for you. But nothing here demands one's attention, or even, through sophistication and/or virtuosity of craft, rewards it.