Back in the early 2000s, I came across Jay Faerber’s writing via The Titans, which was the book featuring a reunited team that spun out of the Titans/JLA miniseries. From what I remember, Faerber dealt with a lot of editorial interference which led to some pretty infamous storylines (the DEO kids … look it up if you don’t remember). When his tenure ended, he left for Image Comics where he began to build Noble Causes, a superhero story that was more soap opera than action-adventure. I remember that I considered buying it, but the period when it was first being published–2002-2008–wasn’t my brightest comic collecting era. In fact, I remember that sometime around 2007 or 2008, I ditched comics completely for about a year and a half before I decided to come back.
Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. I found that my LCS had several of the Noble Causes trades on the discount trades shelf for about $5 a piece and in the name of “I’ve always wanted to check these out,” I grabbed volumes 1 and 2. After all, I’d had good luck with Revival and the series Once and Future.
Noble Causes is the story of the Noble family, a rich superhero family in the Image universe who have the same celebrity cache that media outfits like TMZ give to the Kardashians or the British Royal Family. At the beginning of volume 1, Race Noble, who is very much the Johnny Storm of the bunch, is getting married to Liz Donnelly, a non-famous normal human being. Naturally, this is all sorts of gossip-worthy and it throws the PR machines into a tizzy. The wedding goes forward and then Race is killed on their honeymoon by a random blast from outer space.
The rest of volume 1 focuses on that story, with Liz being a fish out of water as she lives with the Nobles post-Race’s death. We also have layers of the soap opera take shape, with the “black sheep” of the family named Frost trying to find out who his real father is, and in volume 2 there is some question about the paternity of younger daughter Zephyr’s baby. There’s infidelity among some of the married family members, others processing grief, and a rebellious robot butler who seems to be out to turn the family into robots. Total soap opera.
So was it worth it? Well, I enjoyed what I read. When not hamstrung by what his editors wanted him to do, Faerber is a great storyteller and I can totally see how he went from comics to writing for television. He has a gift for employing twists and turns to a story while also keeping everything pretty tight. The art, courtesy of a number of artists, is very much of the late 1990s J. Scott Campbell/Ed Benes style, but whereas that didn’t always work in the big two’s books, works here because of the nature of the story. Would I keep going? Part of me wants to say yes because when I was reading it, I was interested in seeing what was going to happen next. But I also don’t know if it’s worth taking up more space on my shelves (that I don’t have). So I may try and find this in some sort of digital capacity instead.
Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?