A paragon is defined as a model or pattern of excellence or someone of exceptional merit. I think it is safe to say that a hero is often associated as a paragon. But what about the interpersonal side of a paragon? If a hero is a human (albeit with “super” abilities such as enormous strength and invulnerability) who is this person, and how does he or she deal with the minutiae and problems of everyday life? These questions are at the heart of “Anti-Hero #1,” a surprisingly touching, entertaining spin on the superhero genre from writer Jay Faerber and artist Nate Stockman.
I began with the definition of paragon as it is actually integral to this story, as it is the moniker of the hero in existential crisis, Paragon. A two-fisted old fashioned basher, Paragon looks out for trouble whether it be tied into the mob or some costumed villain. Paragon, however, is a person, a citizen, who has a family and a job. This is the real interest for me in this introductory issue, as Faerber takes time to set up who this man is and how life is slowly spinning out of control, as he attempts to balance a life less ordinary. I guess I am most drawn to this because it really does humanize things, and sometimes the heroes of my youth, Superman, Batman, etc., forget to take time to think about these things in order to punch this or that, but that is why sometimes we have to leave those characters as we get older—those heroics are really for the excitement of escapism in the brains of young folks, and they are indeed exciting (and I know there are exceptions to this but not on a regular basis). This is not to say that Anti-Hero does not appeal to that demographic, there are some wonderful fight sequences, but I could not help but feel that this comic could really represent a good entry into that all elusive “all-ages” super-hero story category, as it touches on so many emotional and narrative notes.
The Paragon, however, is not the only character here; in fact, the central character is a low-level hoodlum on his last chance named Callum Finney. Callum has been given an offer he cannot refuse by his mob boss, and it is his discovery of who The Paragon is (and that is not a spoiler, that is actually in the published synopsis), that provides the more tangible narrative tension. How will Callum play this to his advantage? That we will have to wait and see.
“Anti-Hero #1” is a digital comic available through Comixology at http://www.comixology.com/Anti-Hero-1/digital-comic/DIG005089?app=1
Jeffrey Hayes is a contributor to the Capeless Crusader website. He spends his time reading and writing on a variety of things for his own entertainment and every now and again pokes his head out to confirm that the world is indeed going on about daily business just fine without him. He still wants to see movies of his dreams. contact: firstname.lastname@example.org