One-Star Squadron #3 Review: Melancholy and Malaise

One of the most pervasive emotional components of our current zeitgeist is a creeping dread, a feeling of anxiety and horror that something terrible is going to happen. One-Star Squadron #3 may have different causes than the twitchiness gripping our world, but its depiction of it is just as palpable.

One-Star Squadron #3 Review: Melancholy and Malaise
One-Star Squadron #3 Cover. Credit: DC Comics

A company called Heroz4U offers a service — a smartphone app where everyday people can call for the help of superheroes, and it's the only one (there are apparently seven competitors not making any money) that has the endorsement of the Hall of Justice — possibly due to the inclusion of Red Tornado and Power Girl as staffers. The issue opens with Superman presenting philosophical concerns about commercializing heroism, and that element plays out as an emotional roller coaster in this gripping Mark Russell script.

The bright, clean, almost friendly visual storytelling from Steve Lieber, Dave Stewart, and Dave Sharpe provides a sinister sheen to the backstabbing and glad handling that comes part and parcel with corporate life that's riveting to see. The melancholy and malaise in these facial expressions as they pad their way through relentlessly similar days, terrified of the threat of catastrophic change, is all too familiar and brilliantly shown in this work.

There's not a lot to like about the situation, which is horrible for a lot of people, from the pill-popping Minuteman to Red Tornado trying to be all things to all people to the ruthless corporate raider formerly doing business as Power Girl. There is a lot to like about seeing it, like a fine cable drama where you watch messy lives stay messy, avoiding whatever is like that in our own existences. RATING: BUY.

One-Star Squadron #3
By Mark Russell, Steve Lieber
Things just keep getting worse for Red Tornado as heâs called in to face his most ferocious foe yet — the Board! This group of money-hungry investors are willing to do just about anything to turn a profit, and that could mean the end of Heroz4U. Now, as the company's stock plummets, our hero questions why he got into the lifesaving business in the first place. When the time comes, will there be anyone left to save him?

One-Star Squadron #3

One-Star Squadron #3 Review: Melancholy and Malaise
Review by Hannibal Tabu

8/10
When the going gets tough, corporate gets twitchy in this deeply nuanced, emotional examination of the working world for the capes and masks set.
Credits

Editors
Mike Cotton, Brittany Holzherr, Chris Rosa

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About Hannibal Tabu

Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on BleedingCool.com, his mix show can be found on Los Angeles' KQBH-LP 101.5 FM or lpfm.la in your browser Sunday nights at 11PM PST, and more information can be found at his website, www.hannibaltabu.com.
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