I've often been vocal about my concern about number 1 issues. No, not about how comic companies seem to have caught the : ‘'Let's restart the numbering on all of our comics to attract new readers who don't really care about our product in the first place'' bug. No, my concern is about how current stories are structured .
What I mean by that is that many of the story-arcs of modern comics are created as chapters of a whole instead of being created as stand alone comics in a series of comics linked together by an over-arching plot. When people say a comic writer ‘'Writes for the trade'', it means that the writer has one big story instead of the traditional multiple stories that form an ongoing narrative. Alan Moore's Watchmen may have been the first comic to introduce this way of writing to comics.
What does this have to do with Michael Avon Oeming's new series The Victories? Simply put: it's a bad first issue. The reader is told that the story takes place in a near future, decadent city and they are introduced to the protagonist, in the way old Daredevil comics would have Matt Murdock remind the reader about his life-changing accident through thought bubbles, making this issue feel nothing like a first issue. Oeming clearly thought about the world prior to writing this, but he's not letting the reader see enough of that world. While Faustus is an interesting hero and The Jackal a terrifying villain, we lack the context of the world around them. What's up with The Victories? If they truly are this world's super-team, the reader should get a glimpse of The Victories reaction to the bloody events in the issue.
The scene dealing more closely with Faustus' life when he's not fighting crime is almost all that could justify buying the second issue and perhaps the genuine curiosity to see how Jackal will enact his vengeance. Oeming's art is his own. Blocky and simple like a cartoon and yet rooted in shadows and heavy inks. He gets the most details out of the fewest lines. Kudos to Nick Filardi whose colors stick with the minimalist feel of the art using mostly shades of the same color for a whole page.
I don't want to seem like I'm overly negative as I have a feeling this 5 parts series will be a pleasure to read once collected, but this is just too little of a taste of things to come.