When the Heroes television show originally aired, the producers commissioned weekly web comics that gave exclusive background information on certain characters or behind-the-scenes tidbits that filled in the blanks within that week's episode. Each comic averaged about six pages. Heroes: Volume One collects together the first thirty-four of these comics, which coincide with Season 1, into one printed volume that's indispensable for fans of the show. Also includes an introduction by Masi Oka (Hiro).
I'm a big fan of the Heroes TV show, and actually bought this graphic novel for my husband way back when the show was still airing. I'm not sure if he ever read it, but I didn't. When we recently started re-watching the series, I figured it was a good time to finally take a look at Heroes: Volume One. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but as it turns out, that's not a bad thing. Before picking it up, I thought that the entire book was a graphic novelization of an original story that takes place within the Heroes world. In reality, it's a collections of thirty-four short web comics that were originally available for free online to fans of the show. Each one is only about five to six pages long, although some of the stories span multiple "episodes." I'd estimate around half the stories are stand-alones that are little more than vignettes, giving some tidbit of information on a particular character's background or giving some additional insights into something that happened in one of the Season 1 episodes. Some are more interesting than others, but for fans of the show, they're all enlightening on some level.
However, it was the multi-comic story arcs that I found most intriguing. There was a six-part story titled "War Buddies" that gives insights into the connection between Linderman and the Petrelli family that was really good. But my favorite was the four-part story titled "Wireless." It gives the entire backstory on Hana Gitelman, a character whose mind can connect with any electronic device. She was only seen in two episodes of the show, but she ended up playing a pretty big role not only in her stories, but several others in this book. Even though she was only a minor character in the series, by the time I finished reading Heroes: Volume One, I felt like I knew her pretty well.
There were a team of writers and artists who put these stories together and whose skill levels varied. Some I liked better than others. I've already mentioned some of the stories I liked the best, but as for the artwork, I'd have to say my favorite artist was Jason Badower. His drawings were phenomenal, in part, because he drew the characters to look exactly like the actors who portrayed them. Eg. I turned a page and was blown away to see a perfect portrait of Stana Katic, who played Hana in the show.
Overall, this was a great collection for fans of the Heroes TV show. Since the comics are mostly filling in blanks in the shows episodes, I'm not sure how much they would be enjoyed by someone who hasn't seen the TV series or who isn't a fan. They're definitely geared more toward someone who is watching the show and then following along with the graphic novels. But for anyone who loves Heroes, the TV show, Heroes: Volume One is an insightful must-have add-on. Although there were numerous web comics published online at the time the show aired, it appears those are no longer available, and there was only one other volume besides this one that was published in print. I'll definitely be picking that one up at some point too.
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