Julie followed the path of so many other super heroes that came before her. She got some special abilities and used them to help others. After her identity as the ultra known as Hope was outed during a car crash, the government has taken her daughter away from her while her husband is in a coma. Her life is falling apart at the seams. She gets to see her daughter Anna for the first time since the accident, but this is far from a happy reunion.
Hope is a powerful and emotional look at the idea of super heroes. Writer Dirk Manning picks the concept apart, questioning what makes a hero and why they do the things that they do. More importantly, he examines this through real world eyes. How would the government be involved in a world where people can fly or bend steel with their bare hands? They’d regulate the heck out of that.
This provides Hope with a dual narrative of sorts. You have the personal one with Julie and her family, struggling to put the pieces back together and figure out what to do next. Then there’s the meta one where you see how none of Julie’s good deeds as a hero matter in the eyes of the government. To them, she’s an unregistered ultra who put a child in danger. It’s black and white with no room for greys.
Artist K. Lynn Smith does a phenomenal job capturing the raw emotion at work in Hope. This is especially true for the meeting between Julie and Anna. It’s hard to put into words how much it hurts to let your child down. It hits like a punch to the gut. While some of Anna’s reactions can be explained by the stubbornness that comes from that age, she does share some pretty valid points. Smith shows the rage and sadness in the redness within the girl’s eyes. She’s clearly been crying before coming into this room and this meeting has not made it any better.
Red comes into play during a follow-up sequence where Julie realizes how easy it would be to further take matters into her own hands. The entire scene is shaded in red, signifying her anger at a situation she can’t fight. Even with all her abilities, she is powerless in this. Smith also shows this in the lettering of this scene. Julie’s word balloons are surrounded by a red border, amplifying her rage.
Hope is a fascinating examination of the super hero genre. It’s amazing and a little terrifying to see how someone’s perfectly crafted life could be shattered in just a few seconds. Julie may have been a hero, but she’s bordering on villain territory not because of some need to take over the world, but out of frustration with a broken system that’s tearing her family apart.
Hope #4 from Source Point Press is currently available at your local comic shop.