Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

Home > CR Reviews

Noble Causes Volume 5: Betrayals
posted February 3, 2006


Creators: Jay Faerber, Fran Bueno
Publishing Information: Image Comics, $14.99, 2006
Ordering Numbers: 1582405786 (ISBN)

Noble Causes 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.