The third issue of Creator-Owned Heroes from Image Comics dropped this week, and it is another brilliant installment. For those who might not know, Creator-Owned Heroes is quite different (in a good way) from the other comics out there. Each issue features a new installment of two comic stories. The current comics are: American Muscle, written by Steve Niles with art by Kevin Mellon, and Trigger Girl 6, written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray with art by Phil Noto. While comic split-issues and anthologies are not a new concept in their own right, what makes Creator-Owned Heroes really unique is the addition of essays, articles, interviews, and rants that are included in each issue. This format allows for fun surprises, with readers never knowing exactly what to expect—but rest assured that there is something here for everyone.
In this installment of American Muscle, our crew of refugees sets out to rescue their friend Gil, who has been captured by a band of violent and mentally unstable mutants. In an effort to facilitate a rescue, our protagonists will have to pretend to play nice amidst the mutants. Will they ever make it back to civilization? What could possibly go wrong? This installment of American Muscle had some nice moments of humor thrown into the plot’s tense situation, and promises to wrap up next month with a “bang.” I’m still not totally in love with the loose, sketchy art style here, but American Muscle has been a fun read nonetheless.
After being unable to pull the trigger in a Presidential assassination attempt in TriggerGirl 6, the deadly female assassin finds herself captured and being questioned. Too bad she doesn’t seem to have any answers about the plot, who sent her, or even who she really is. If only she can manage an escape, maybe she can learn why she looks like the President’s own mother, and possibly the truth about her existence. Even if she manages an escape, there might be quite a few obstacles between her and the truth. To avoid too many spoilers, let’s just leave it at that. TriggerGirl 6 has been a very interesting story, opening up even more questions as it progresses. Noto’s art is very clean and visually appealing. This story also wraps up next month. Be sure not to miss the conclusion that promises to answer the many questions this story has raised along the way.
The various articles in Creator-Owned Heroes #3 offer quite a bit of variety. We get some insight into the mind of Mark Waid, in a fun interview conducted by Jimmy Palmiotti. Phil Noto talks about his influences and progression as an artist, through various methods and mediums, with some cool looks at some of his paintings and illustrations. Steve Bunche pontificates women warriors, and the plethora of arguments and discussions that stem from their modern portrayals (I suspect that he will receive a flood of emails from readers who didn’t bother to read his piece through to the end). Justin Gray delivers an entertaining rant on video game and comics “addiction,” that was pretty damned funny. Comics Historian, Christopher Irving touches base on digital distribution and his project www.thedrawnworld. Perhaps my favorite piece was an interview with Steve Niles, conducted by former 924 Gilman Street Head Coordinator and current Image Comics Account Manager, Branwyn Bigglestone. Steve Niles is one of the creators that I respect the most in all of comics. I grew up strongly influenced by punk and the DIY scene. Give me an interview with Steve Niles talking about his Dischord Records band Gray Matter, punk, DIY, comics, fair creator agreements, and so much more… and I am a very satisfied reader.
Despite being another stellar issue of Creator-Owned Heroes, there does seem to be a small problem here. Order numbers for this title from local comic shops have dropped off slightly this time around, and yet the shops I visited during the afternoon on new comics day were completely sold out of Creator-Owned Heroes #3 or nearly there. Of course, you can always pick up a copy of this title right here on comiXology. But if you are like me and prefer the printed version, PLEASE tell your LCS to order this title! This is a very original comic, and we the readers can help it to be a continued success. The current comic stories conclude in the next issue, and Steve assured me on Twitter that exciting new stories are in the works for issue #5. If you like new and innovative comics, do not miss out on Creator-Owned Heroes!