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I knew Michael Avon Oeming from his work on Powers and some Marvel stuff and that's why I started following him on twitter. Through his account I was able to follow the creative process of The Victories, because the author often spoke about it. He got me interested enough in checking something that he wrote and illustrated himself. Oeming didn't disappoint. The Victories is a pessimistic view of a society with "super-heroes". The story is told through the heroes' point of view, themselves far from the usual exemplary people one would expect, are after all quite flawed. The author uses their status as super-heroes to further amplify and analyse such human flaws.
The context is a futuristic and rather dystopian civilization, where people are constantly spied by drone cameras but corruption is still ubiquitous, young people are addicted to some new kind of drug and super-heroes seem to be the only hope of cleaning it all up and saving society. It's as familiar as if one was looking outside the window (television?) in a rainy day and actually paying attention. Of note is the author's use of the drug, which far from the traditional cliché is presented here as a substance with an understandable appeal. Faustus, the main character of the first volume is interesting to follow because the author left him with an immature personality, somewhat incomplete and with unfinished business (sometimes reminding me of the typical anti-hero with past issues), a young man in a process of self-discovery and definition.
This is how Oeming sets out to explore the place we give to these supposed exemplary figures, at the same time dealing with what people have best and worst, their reactions to extreme situations where they risk winning or losing everything they care for. The Victories is a comic wrote for mature readers and will probably be enjoyed the most by those who have read the more typical comics with their traditional superheroes, idealized worlds and self-discovery epics because they will see here a smart counterpoint.
The illustration is so adequate to the setting and tone that I can't really point anything wrong with it. Whoever knows and likes Michael Avon Oeming's art won't be disappointed.
My only negative criticism towards this book is that, as an introductory volume, the storytelling often looses momentum with the flashbacks and some infodumping that disturb an otherwise enjoyable read.
I'm now waiting for the next volume!