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Real Heroes returns at long last for its fourth issue. Writer and Artist Bryan Hitch has become more or less well known for his contributions to The Authority and to The Ultimates. Both of which were written by two blockbuster-style writers at their respective primes. So, Hitch had a lot to live up to in terms of striking it out on his own.
Well, the first three issues of Real Heroes failed to live up to the various collaborations that Hitch had found himself a part of in the past. Some might say that the series even failed to live up to the incredibly middling America’s Got Powers with Jonathan Ross. With a concept like “Galaxy Quest meets The Avengers”, you think that it would be the sort of miniseries to hit the ground running.
Instead it was actually just surprisingly boring. Hitch spent too much time on useless minutiae that doesn’t really afford much in terms of build-up and feels more like padding. Real Heroes #4 is a step in the right direction, but is it enough to save a series whose whole first impression is a big anchor around the neck? The characters haven’t been given much charisma and we haven’t gotten much pathos.
Real Heroes #4 actually tries to rectify a lot of the missteps of the previous installments. The characters are given more amounts of personality, and there are now actually rising stakes to the whole situation. Beforehand it was next to impossible to feel invested in anything going on, that changes course here. The characters are finally placed right into the middle of the action and actually get interesting.
The evolution from something other than “Hawkeye pastiche” or “Superman pastiche” begins. Whether or not Hitch is able to really capitalize on this development before the series comes to an end is another thing altogether. The rest of the issue is mainly exposition that should have been given in the previous three since it feels less like a twist and more like stuff we should have known before.
Hitch’s art is for the most part palatable but a far cry from the really energetic output that he had previously been known for. It is really a sad day when vanity projects simply don’t have the effort they used have. Real Heroes #4 ends with a promise of some actual passion next issue, and if there actually is then another long hiatus would be worth it. Hitch is trying to make it on his own and it’d be nice to see a success story.