What exactly goes on behind the iron curtain of superheroes? Sure we get to see Bruce brooding in his cave, Clark attempting to have a normal life with Lois, Wally and family trying to cope with their particular lifestyle, but all of these views are from the perspective of the writer, not the person living in the world of the heroes. It is surprising that there are not more stories that focus on the celebrity aspect of superheroes and the lengths those heroes will go through to keep their private life separate from their hero identity. Fortunately, Noble Causes from Image Comics examines that situation with a bit of mystery too boot.
Scandal, outrage, gossip, rumor, we canâ€™t turn on the television, or go to the grocery store without seeing the likes of Britney, Kim, Paris, Lindsay, Clooney, Brad, Angelina, and the rest of the upper crust of society splashed in our faces with the latest tid-bit of their lives. No matter how much you want to avoid the gossip and news, it has become part of our lives.
The Noble family, a family of superheroes who have achieved celebrity status, have to deal with this everyday to the point where they spend more time arguing over how they are going to keep certain situations out of the tabloids, than saving the day.
The series kicks off with the middle child of the family, Race Noble, falling in love with a woman with no powers that sends the media into a feeding frenzy. When they wed, it becomes the wedding of the century, televised world wide with as much pomp and circumstance one would find in a royal wedding. In this case, the naming the family Noble by writer Jay Faerber is quite apropos.
Things go from great to nightmarish when Race Noble and his lovely bride Liz fly off on their honeymoon to a desert island only to have Race burned to death by a laser from the sky. The rest of the issue is spent discovering who is behind the murder, but we also get a look at the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
Reading the first volume of Noble Causes is like watching a season of Knotâ€™s Landing, Dynasty, Beverly Hills 90210, Desperate Housewives and the rest of those soap opera dramas; someone is sleeping with someone else, someone gets knocked up, nepotism abounds, and there are a few smack downs with someoneâ€™s life hanging in the balance.
When the original four issue mini-series was released it had the 15-page main story, but also included an eight page backup story that told the backstory of the characters and situations referenced in the primary story. In the collected edition, it was decided to group the main story and backups separately. While this does keep the flow of the main story intact, there were many times during the reading, that I wondered what the references to past events were. Reading those immediately after the accompanying feature, would have quelled those questions.
The other minor nit that I have with this first volume is the printing. I have owned the trade for less than two weeks, and in that time it either sat on my read pile, or on my desk; not in a location that would have caused the trade to become damage. Yet I was no more than two pages into the book before the cover came unglued and now the pages also run the risk of falling apart. I understand Image has had some issues with printing and binding before (see Invincible collected trade), and this may be one of those from that era, but I would expect my book to hold together a lot better for my money.
The story was a good read, the characters dysfunctional and human. Getting an inside look at the real world of the worldâ€™s greatest heroes from a â€œcommoner’sâ€ perspective is something that is missing in most superhero comics, which is why Iâ€™m recommending Noble Causes Volume 1: In sickness and in health a trade you should own.