Review - Sundowners #1

"She wanted to be part of something bigger..."

What makes a hero beyond the cape and tights? It likely has something to do with their personality, which leads them to make sometimes reckless decisions in the name of helping the helpless. What if those decisions are made to help those who don't really need help? Or, better yet, don't even exist in the first place? It's something Dark Horse addresses in Sundowners #1, written by Tim Seeley, illustrated by Jim Terry, colored by Sean Dove and lettered by Crank!.

Pigeon, Crowlita, Arcanika and Karl, the Patient Wolf are a team of "superheroes" who have tasked themselves with saving the city. At least, that's the world they believe the live in. Their exploits are recounted to Dr. David Shrejic in the Sundowners Support Group, named for Sundowner's Syndrome. The thing about the heroes though is that they might not actually be the heroes they make themselves out to be. Saving the day might just be a delusion in the minds of the so-called heroes.

There's not shortage of "citizen superhero" books on shelves, but give credit to Seeley: he wrote one that feels different than the rest. His tale twists that tale by presenting the possibility that the heroes might just be making everything up as they go, not even fully realizing the dangers they may be putting themselves in. Presenting characters as flawed as the leads in Sundowners #1 is very strong and keeps the reader on their toes. Seeley doesn't reveal everything in the first issue though; instead, giving just enough to keep the reader hooked. The end of the issue also presents a nice twist that sets it up for some more intrigue down the road.

Terry's illustrations are well matched to Seeley's script. The characters in the book are reminiscent of other superheroes in the history of comics and Terry imbues them with an appropriate sense of nostalgia. The way the characters are illustrated evoke a certain uncertainty on both their parts and on the part of the reader, which plays perfectly into the notion that maybe the heroes are imagining the heroic deeds. Terry relies on that grittiness that conveys the grime of the city being "protected" by the Sundowners. Dove's colors further accent the grime, which help make the city feel like a place after the sun goes down.

Sundowners #1 on its surface feels pretty superfluous, but once you dig deeper you find a pretty fascinating journey into the human subsconscious. The main characters are extraordinarily flawed in a way that's perfectly in line with their presumed psychological shortcomings. Seeley's script moves along relatively briskly and in a way that slowly peels back the layers of the characters. Terry's illustrations have a certain nostalgia to them that helps keep the book itself feel somewhat stilted, much like the character's who are the focus of the plot. Sundowners #1 is a pretty intriguing first issue that offers an equally intriguing concept in the form of truly flawed superheroes.

Sundowners #1 is in stores now with interiors below.