Noble Causes #32-33 (Image Comics)

noblecauses-header.jpgA five year leap in time provides the perfect jumping on point for Jay Faerber’s family-driven superhero soap opera.



The cover to Noble Causes 32. Click for a larger image.32 pgs. each, FC; $3.50 each

(W: Jay Faerber, A: Yıldıray Çınar)

If you’ve never read Jay Faerber’s Noble Causes, then numbers 32 and 33 might be an ideal place to jump on. Issue #32 begins after a five year jump in time, and begins to fill in the gap almost immediately. Noble Causes tells the story of a family of internationally famous superheroes, the Nobles (appropriate moniker, yes?), and the Capulets to their Montagues, the Blackthorne family.

Noble Causes is billed as something of a soap opera comic, with superpowers on the periphery. The focus is more on the interactions among the members of the respective families than big fight scenes against powered villains. Still, Faerber tends to include fight scenes here and there, which serve to illuminate the relationships between the characters. Much like NBC’s popular TV series Heroes, the super-powered nature of the characters serve as a framework for a taut character drama.

With Faerber’s focus on character-driven plots, it’s not surprising that the characters themselves are the best part of this book. Each one has a complex personality, with specific traits and motivations (many of which remain unrevealed, thanks to the jump forward in time) that make the plot points enjoyably unpredictable.

Specifically of note is the character of Frost, the black sheep of the Noble family, who is attempting to disentangle himself from a plot to take down the Nobles from within. His flawed nature makes him an easy target for enemies of the family, who tend to take advantage of his predilection toward overreaction and rage. This is delightfully at odds with his Iceman-like freezing powers, and cold blue skin.

The cover to Noble Causes 33. Click for a larger image.Another favorite character is Rusty Noble, the deceased eldest son of the family, whose consciousness was placed in a synthetic metal body by his father. It’s unclear whether Rusty has retained his personality after this insertion, but if any of his former self remains he hides it behind an unfeeling, robotic personality, to the chagrin of his father.

Yıldıray Çınar’s art is quite good, if a little generic. It’s perfectly serviceable for such a story-focused book, but he doesn’t seem to have a notable style of his own. I’m not sure how much a unique art style would contribute to this kind of book, but I would be interested to see such a product. One thing Çınar excels at is panel layouts; he paces small moments extremely well, interspersing them among half- and full-page set pieces. His layouts are innovative, and serve Faerber’s story extraordinarily well.

All in all, Faerber’s particular brand of family-driven superhero comics, including Noble Causes and Dynamo 5, succeeds in being pleasingly different from standard comic book fare. New readers will find the upcoming issues a perfect way to get to know the Noble family and the conflicts inherent in their satisfyingly complex lives. | Jared Vandergriff

Check out Yildiray Çınar’s ComicSpace page for a special preview of Noble Causes #32. To learn more, visit!

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