Review: “Heroineburgh” Issue 2 and Swag Giveaway!
Combining the talents of dozens of actresses and other creators, Heroineburgh started as a web series featuring the exploits of a large cast of super-powered characters. The project has expanded to a bi-weekly comic strip and now a full comic book series, too, bringing the live-action world to the illustrated page.
In any case, here’s the overall gist of the story:
In Heroineburgh, women (yup – just the ladies, fellas) have started to develop superhuman powers due to a process called epigenetics, in which a person’s genetic activity is augmented without changes being made to the underlying genetic code (science!). But that doesn’t mean that Heroineburgh is strictly created for a female audience. The project was inspired by mainstream superhero media such as Wonder Woman ’77, so the idea is that Heroineburgh is made for the enjoyment of everyone, and there was no ham-fisted political messaging in any of the content I’ve seen so far.
We covered the first issue of Heroineburgh along with a few of the online live-action episodes last year, so this review will act, in part, like an update. If you’d like to check out our initial thoughts on the multiple Heroineburgh projects, go here.
Much like the first issue, the second issue of the Heorineburgh comic is more focused on over-the-top action than interpersonal drama. Before getting into the plot and art, It’s definitely worth discussing issue two’s form factor a bit. One of the most noticeable changes between issues one and two was that the interior pages were a standard weight this time, not overly thick cover stock like issue one. Like issue one, the second issue also includes two eight-page main stories, but issue two also includes four extra pages of content to round it out to a fuller twenty pages, making for a better overall value.
The different stories also feature different artists this time around, too. While both main stories are written by Manny Theiner, the first is illustrated by Benjamin Zeus Barnett, who also illustrated the first issue. His artwork is noticeably improved since issue one, with better background details and the compression artefacting around the characters thankfully eliminated.
The first story features the heroine Savannah as she faces off against the beastial new villainess, Panthyra. It’s pretty straight-forward for an eight-page story, quickly showing the origin of Panthyra but ending in a somewhat disappointing cliffhanger. However, I’m finding that one of the defining characteristics of the Heroineburgh project is the sheer volume of heroines and villains, so it was nice to see a quick story that focussed on only a couple of characters.
The second eight-page story features artwork by Wayne Brown, who has a much more stylized and dynamic art style when compared to Barnett’s more lifelike renditions. The story follows the heroines Vendetta, Jinniyya, Poderosa, Darbouka, and Devana who defend the city from an onslaught of high-tech robots. The over-the-top battle is reminiscent of old-fashioned fights from the Golden or Silver Age with action that is indeed fast and furious, with tons of superheroics to enjoy. I don’t feel that the robot designs exactly match the Heroineburgh universe (they look like something ripped from the Mega Man universe), but that’s a small quibble.
But what about the remaining four pages? Those are reserved for some of the Heroineburgh newspaper comic strips, all of which appear to be illustrated by Barnett. These comics cram a lot of story and action into a very small space. The main attraction is Save the Children, a multipart story in which heroines Cybrina and Red Gina take on a human trafficking ring. This adventure is surprisingly well-realized despite the limitations of the comic strip medium, and I enjoyed seeing the heroines take on more down-to-earth villains for a change.
It’s clear that the Heroinburgh comic series is intended to be a very light, action-heavy featuring a smorgasbord of colorful characters, so those looking for a deeper lore will be disappointed. There may not have been a line as memorable as “I go where I please, bitch!” (from the first issue), but the dialogue was still adequately bombastic. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the cover art by Jason Wright (Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps.) looks great.
Overall, it was great to see the form factor improvements made between issues one and two. The lettering problems that issue one suffered seem to be mostly resolved, too. It’s absolutely an improved product. It’s worth noting that if you aren’t familiar with the Heroineburgh characters from the previous issue or the web series, you can probably jump into issue two without being lost. You can order an issue directly from the Heroineburgh website here.
The Web Series
The Heroineburgh team also provided us with more episodes of the web series, specifically episode 17 and parts one and two of episode 18. Much of my commentary or criticism remains similar to our first review. The budget is low, the enthusiasm is high, and if you approach the series with the right mindset, you will probably have some fun once you adjust. It’s a campy indie project not a Hollywood production, after all.
That said, the audio quality remains inconsistent, and there is a wide variety of acting performances. The show is at its best when the cast really hams it up, either by delivering boisterous one-liners or throwing their heads back in maniacal laughter. For my money, the technological mastermind Crainiac once again steals the show. I did get a fun one-liner from Chlorina…
In these most recent episodes, there are love triangles to be resolved, new villains including a new sidekick for series mainstay villainess, Sintilla, and Crainiac is crafting new technology to defeat the heroines. Much like a soap opera, there is actually a lot going on, and the action jumps between each conflict to highlight several characters in each episode.
At this point, I realized another one of Heroineburgh’s strongest features is that it has a heck of a lot of characters to play with. If you don’t like one, there are seemingly dozens of others to gravitate to, all with unique costumes and power sets. Should the Heroineburgh project continue expanding into other mediums, I think a trading card game featuring the huge roster of characters would be a good fit.
As I’ve said before, if you’re looking for a more serious take on superheroes or a Hollywood level production, the Heroineburgh web series won’t satisfy you. I’d personally prefer to watch episodes of Heroineburgh than anything on the WB, but I’m admittedly an odd breed.
If you want to sample the Heroineburgh web series before dropping any hard-earned coin, check out their YouTube channel, which features clips from the series.
While my overall opinion of the web series remains unchanged, it’s great to see the improvements being made to the comic book. It has more value and a better form factor than issue one, and some of the problems from the first issue are clearly being addressed.
You can find much more information at the official Heroineburgh website, where you can purchase copies of the Heroineburgh comic book for $9.99 or purchase episodes of the web series for $7.99 each. Don’t forget that you can also visit the Heroineburgh YouTube channel for select clips of the web series and try them out ahead of time. You can also keep up with the Heroineburgh team via Facebook, Twitter, or their official website.
If you are already a Heroineburgh fan, or you’re starting to feel the vibe and want to get your hands on some free Heroineburgh swag, you’re in luck! The Heroineburgh team has generously provided The Splintering with one Heroineburgh prize pack to give away, which includes three Heroineburgh stickers and a Heroineburgh t-shirt (size medium – it’s all we’ve got)!
There are multiple ways to enter:
1. Leave a comment below for two entries! (with email address – we have to be able to contact you, after all)
The winner will be selected at random on 28 February 2021. U.S. entrants only. Good luck!
*Disclosure: A copy of the Heroineburgh issue 2, as well as episodes 17 & 18 of the Heroineburgh web series, were provided to The Splintering for the purpose of this review.