Review - The Victories #2

Every city needs a defender. Someone to keep the evil people off the street. Someone to stop crime and drugs from making the city a bad place. Someone that's part of a bigger team and has crime-fighting abilities that are unmatched by most. Someone like Faustus in The Victories #2 from Dark Horse.

The second issue is written and illustrated by Michael Avon Oeming, with colors by Nick Filardi and letters by Aaron Walker.

There's a drug called Float ravaging the fine city that Faustus protects. It's a drug that has a debilitating effect on its users and leads to some desperate decision-making on the part of those looking to use it. Some people are pressed into service against their will to obtain it, which is how Larry "Link" Arnold gets involved with a group of thieves.

The drug's effect is a call to arms for The Victories. The team is comprised of Faustus, Sleeper, Sai, D.D. Mau and Lady Dragon. The powers kick down a few doors and presumably saves some lives, all in the name of justice. What they don't expect is a villain they never expected to see again so soon.

The second of five issues in The Victories continues to be awesome. It doesn't have quite the same feverish tone of the first issue, which pitted Faustus against the Jackal, but it adds to context to their battle. Clearly, this city has problems and there are more both helping solve them and contribute to them than just Faustus and Jackal.

And while the concept of drugs ruining lives isn't exactly new, Oeming has made it feel different. There's probably a drug out there that simulates the feeling of Float, but the depiction of it in the issue really makes you understand why people are going crazy for it. The city these characters inhabit is just as filthy and corrupt as many cities we inhabit today, giving the reader something to latch onto as they read.

Oeming's art is just as strong as the writing. The book looks and feels like an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, with sharp, well-defined lines cutting through the panel backdrops. Characters are depicted as caricatures of the superhero body style, adding a sense of playfulness to an otherwise serious story. There are even some great action panels that use interesting shots to choreograph the fight.

The series is still shaping up to be about superheroes at its core, but it's looking like the characters will take it deeper than that. Jackal has been named as the only "villain" so far, but it's likely that the combination of Float on the streets and the surprise at the end of the issue will keep the Victories more than busy. Definitely a book worth checking out.

The Victories #2 is in stores now with interiors below.