‘Creator-Owned Heroes’ is an interesting release.  It’s part anthology comic book, part magazine.

First comes ‘American Muscle’ by writer Steve Niles and artist Kevin Mellon.  Set in a post-apocalyptic future, humanity’s end came at the collapse of everyone’s immune system.  What’s left of society has barricaded itself off in a walled city, except a small group who chooses to leave and take their chances.  Racing along in three old cars, one of them looses its brakes.  It’s a harrowing ride as the others try and stop the runaway car.  They manage… barely, as they reach their destination, the remains of Los Angeles.  It seems they’d heard that LA was some sort of paradise, but they find a desolate wasteland with a grotesque surprise.

Next up is ‘Trigger Girl 6’ starring a possibly artificial assassin, by writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Ray with art by Phil Noto.  The title character awakens in an underwater pod, gets dressed, arms herself and climbs into a flight capsule.  Her target is a military plane which is transporting a Senator Grimes.  The pilot detects Trigger Girl 6 when she attaches herself to the underside of the plane and the Senator panics when he recognizes her uniform.  Whatever the Trigger Girls are, they’re dangerous enough for the President to get personally involved.  He orders two accompanying planes to take action without prejudice.  The Senator freaks out as the planes open fire.  Trigger Girl 6 glides to safety.  Senator Grimes, not so much.

The rest of the book is an interesting mix of features.  Jimmy Palmiotti counts down his Top Ten movies of 2012 so far.  He also interviews Neil Gaiman and a photo essay featuring Juli Abene, a cosplay enthusiast who, fittingly, dresses as Trigger Girl 6 and much more.

Overall, it’s a fun idea.  At $3.99, you get a lot more to read and digest than your typical comic and the creators all have interesting points of view.

If I must criticize, the actual comic stories are very short and once you read through them, which takes about fifteen minutes, you have possibly hours worth of additional text to read, by which point the comics almost feel like an afterthought or bonus.  (Palmiotti does say the comic page count will vary, so they will hopefully get longer.)  As it stands, the ‘American Muscle’ story is packed with seven characters, but not enough happens to get a handle on any of them yet.  At least the premise is set up nicely.  Because ‘Trigger Girl 6’ has very few words in it, it reads very briskly.  The premise here is only vaguely referenced, so the reader is left unsure of who these Trigger Girls are, although we get a general idea.

Even so, I like the idea of providing a reader with more bang for their buck and I like getting a glimpse behind the scenes, into the thought process of the creators making the comics.  I wouldn’t mind seeing the format spread!

Verdict: Buy

Written by Steve Niles
Art by Kevin Mellon

Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Phil Noto
Cover by Phil Noto and Kevin Mellon