The Filipino Heroes League book 1 (paolo fabregas) [visprint]

Aside from Callwork, this is the only other non-indie comic I got from Komikon (meaning, this is a Visprint release). I totally don’t regret it. It was fun stuff!

Short version, the series promises to be something like a Pinoy Watchmen. If you thought Watchmen had the right idea going, imagine if the Watchmen had to deal with Manila traffic, politics, and practicalities of poverty, and you would have this series.

Long version: a series of political assassinations are wrecking havoc on the president’s ratings, since all the killings are of opposition politicians. Someone is definitely behind it, and it’s up to the FHL to find out exactly who is pulling the strings. But the government-supported and thus government-funded league is so short on funds that: Kid Kidlat sidelines as a pedicab driver and doesn’t have a decent costume; most other league members are OFW’s; the country’s genius kid inventor lives in the squatter area; the league’s HQ is a rundown shack in front of the equally rundown arts center in the CCP complex. Worse, they have to fight against rival league the Republic Heroes, who ARE funded nicely.

The art shows effective detail without overdoing it. Paneling and typesetting are professional and tight. The fact that the writer and artist is the same person helps in maintaining the balance of dialogue and illustrations in delivering the story.
As a plot-driven story the characters are given enough airtime to be distinct and individual, but characterization such as backstory is too sparse. This will probably be corrected in future issues, though.

A part of me also wishes that the story were delivered in Taglish, instead of in full English, especially for areas that could have been better said in Tagalog (for instance, all of Maker’s swearing would have been more effective in Tagalog). It raises the language to an educated-middle-class level, which reduces some of the grittiness of both characters and story. But it is obvious in the whole production that international release is being aimed at, so I am not complaining too much.

I am grateful that it downplays the over-arching statements the comic does give about the state of the nation and its people. It does not shove the statements down anyone’s throat; rather, it heightens focus on them and leaves you to think about it.

But all of these things said for and against this series, I was left impressed and intrigued by it, and will eagerly come back for more.

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