All Star Section Eight: The Heroes We Need

section 8 cover

By James Nelson

I have something to confess. I’ve never read Hitman. As far as alternative comics goes it’s one thats never been on my radar. That is, until one of my friends told me about this group of deranged misfits trying to be heroes called Section Eight. By the time I’d heard of them the Hitman books were done, so I looked them up on wikipedia, laughed, and then promptly forgot all about them.

Then one day I was thinking about them, googled the Defenestrator (my favorite name in the history of comics) and discovered that in the midst of the awful event that is Convergence, DC was launching a book dedicated to Section Eight. The cover, pictured above, says it all. They are a group of people, some with superpowers, whose powers are either activated in strange ways, like Sixpack, or they have insane fixations, like Dogwelder (yes, he does EXACTLY what you think he does).

From left to right: Powertool, Bueno Excellente, Guts, The Grapplah!, Dogwelder, and Sixpack
From left to right: Powertool, Bueno Excellente, Guts, The Grapplah!, Dogwelder, and Sixpack

The story starts out with a summary of how the previous iteration of the team all died in a blaze of glory saving Gotham from an army of demons. Then, after Sixpack falls off the wagon (Cause he’s an alcoholic, get it!) he decides he needs to rebuild the team to combat some threat. A threat, mind you, he just feels in his bones and has no evidence to support. So he goes to a hero bar, recruits seven people, some familiar faces and most new, and decides the last man he needs to recruit is Batman. Only he can round off the team.

batman 1

The thing that makes this comic so great is not particularly how irreverent it is, but how simultaneously whimsical and twisted it is. We’ve all seen the superhero parodies like Watchmen or Kickass where the heroes are not just dark and gritty, they take the standard archetypes and bleed them of all sympathy. Those parodies are meant to make statements about the comics medium and the characters that inhabit them as to draw out abject lesson about the moral pillars of the genre. Even The Dark Knight Returns does this to Batman. Section Eight doesn’t even try to take this angle, which I love. Its hilarious while still honoring Batman, and most of this has to do with Sixpack’s mental state, who is the central character of this book. The story feels like a fever dream, almost like these are the rambling imaginations of a dying drunk, which in fact it could still turn out to be.

Issue #2 comes out July 8th, and I can’t wait.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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