The Order # 5
Writer: Matt Fraction
Pencils: Khari Evans
Inker: Victor Olazaba
The Order are a government sponsored super hero team that’s meant to protect California. Ideally they are the government’s poster team, yet they are being written more like X-Statix, a spoiled, celebrity team, more threatened by their internal dilemmas than anything the world throws at them. Personally, I miss X-Statix, so this could certainly fill a void in the comic world.
I was correct in comparing this with X-Statix, though this lacks the satiric tone of X-Statix. This is a comic for people who love gossip and love superheroes. The heroes here are sometimes endearingly, sometimes frustratingly human. A sex tape must be dealt with, a new home must be found, and a bunch of villains nearly kill everyone. All of this is kept very well grounded, but there seems to be an overarching silliness that the situations demand, yet the tone doesn’t convey. This book could absolutely use someone who doesn’t take these affairs so seriously, as it’s in danger of losing itself in melodrama.
The character’s are all introduced by this point, so the text doesn’t go out of its way to do that again, but that’s not a huge problem. These characters are distinct in subtle ways and each is given a clear voice without becoming a caricature. The subtlety with which this is handled is a nice change from most superhero comics overbearing, over the top characterizations.
The art here is distinctly Marvel’s house style, which is quite fitting since this book is essentially an editorial mandate after Civil War. The characters display good emotion and the women look different in this one, so that’s a plus not always found in books of this type. This is very solid material, like the rest of the book.
This is a very solid book that fills a need at examining how superheroics and fame interact. Flashy and public powers afford these characters a bit of celebrity which they deal with in a human, interesting manner. The tone is a bit too serious for the problems these characters deal with (besides the villains anyway) because as an audience, there is always a bit of flippancy in how we deal with celebrity scandal. Something to address that is needed, since looking at it from the celebrity point of view is only so relatable. Still, this is well done and worth checking out.