The Hero Cats comic book series from Action Lab Entertainment continues to be an enjoyable read. I previously reviewed the first two issues, so now let’s take a look at #s 3-5.
Cassiopeia, the newest member of the Hero Cats team, has been serving as the gateway character, the readers’ introduction to the rest of the book’s cast, both feline and human. In issue #3 we see her official basic training, as the rest of the kitty commandos put her through the paces to see if she has what it takes to battle evil and protect the innocent.
Kyle Puttkammer’s script for this issue is both funny and moving. He does a good job showing the novice Cassiopeia overcoming her doubts & inexperience to be accepted by the team. Puttkammer also examines the motivations of Hero Cat leader Ace, and shows the developing bond between him and Cassiopeia. The story is very thoughtful, sentimental and laugh-out-loud funny.
In issue #4 the Hero Cats explore a subterranean mystery beneath Stellar City. They discover a civilization of trolls and help them fight off invading rock monsters. Puttkammer uses the story to delve into the background of Belle, the long-haired telepathic member of the team.
In prior issues of Hero Cats readers were told of how Cassiopeia’s humans, Stanley Quest and his daughter Suzie, were secretly the costumed crime-fighters Galaxy Man and Cosmic Girl. Cassiopeia and the rest of her team finally discover this in issue #5. The cynical Midnight and Belle are both automatically suspicious, observing that all of the bizarre menaces that have been plaguing Stellar City only began to show up after Galaxy Man first made his debut. Cassiopeia, of course, thinks they are being ridiculous.
Actually, though, Cassiopeia’s two teammates might just be on to something. During his latest journey into outer space to search for his missing astronaut wife Amelia, Galaxy Man unwittingly brings back to Earth a swarm of ravenous space bugs. Fortunately it turns out they are allergic to peanut butter. Cassiopeia, Rocco and Rocket all team up with Cosmic Girl, who has, amazingly enough, still managed to keep her identity a secret from her father.
Puttkammer’s writing on these three issues is great. As I have observed before, he is one of those writers whose stories can be appreciated on different levels. Younger readers will enjoy the cute cats and their funny adventures. Adults will appreciate the development of the felines’ different personalities. Puttkammer does a good job scripting the Hero Cats’ interactions as they work to apply their often-clashing world views and philosophies to solving the crises facing them.
I certainly had to chuckle at the various scenes in these issues of Cassiopeia trying to talk to her humans. We the readers obviously understand her dialogue, but to the people in the story it just sounds like “Meow meow meow!” I expect anyone who has ever had a cat can identify with that. Cats can be very expressive, and they often appear to be attempting to communicate with us. You just know when a cat is telling you something, even if you may not know precisely what it is.
I really enjoy the work by penciler Marcus Williams and inker Ryan Sellers. Their art is cute and expressive, possessing a real dynamic quality. Williams & Sellers invest their characters with genuine emotion. They are great at rendering both dramatic action sequences and quieter scenes featuring Puttkammer’s passages of dialogue.
Tracy Yardley once again illustrates the Galaxy Man & Cosmic Girl two page back-up stories in Hero Cats, as well as penciling the cover to issue #6. It was interesting to see his interpretations of the various cats on that. Yardley has a somewhat different style from Williams, but he is definitely a good fit for this series. I hope he will continue to contribute to Hero Cats.
Once again, I recommend this series. Back issues can be ordered through the Hero Cats website. There is also a trade paperback out collecting the first three issues.
Y’know, while I’ve been typing up this review, one of my two cats, Squeaky, has been sitting next to the desk. I think she wants me to pay less attention to fictional felines and spend more time with her. Looks like it’s time for treats and tummy rubs!