I first started reading comic books in the early 90s, nearly a decade before my descent into the world of webcomics. As with many people, my gateway comics were the varied Marvel titles, though I did branch out into DC and then the independent titles along the way. But finally, a lack of money and the declining quality of the stories put out by DC and Marvel left me uninterested in the superhero genre. Given the relative lack of the genre on the Internet, I suspect I’m not the only one to feel this way; I do know that the Internet has given rise to a wide variety of genres… with superhero comics in the distinct minority despite their continued dominance of the American print comic world.
To be honest, the parody comic League of Super Redundant Heroes reminds me more of the multiplayer superhero game City of Heroes (and its varied brethren) than of the print comics. Part of this lies with the general premise: we’re not following the great heroes of the land who regularly fight forces that threaten reality, nor are these the secondary heroes who help fill in while the Big Bad Heroes fight the good fight. No, these are the Z-rated heroes. The losers, who are only heroes because they’ve got powers and thus feel an obligation to wear the costume and fight the good fight… even though they’re honestly not needed.
Needless to say, LoSRH isn’t a grand epic tale in which the heroes are striving to overcome great odds. Instead, the heroes are mundane and fairly pathetic. For the most part the comic focuses on the “redundant” heroes, including Lazer Pony, who has the ability to fire lasers from behind his eyes. Mind you, his eyes are not immune to his lasers, so the first time he used his power he went blind. Oh, and he’s also such an idiot that Forrest Gump looks like a genius in comparison. His compatriots (and flatmates) include Good Girl, whose backstory is she was a good girl who was mistakenly exorcised by a priest… and thus became too good. At least, until her halo comes off. And there’s Gyrognome, their landlord, and Buckaress, whose only abilities are the Most Common Super Power and being the group’s straight woman.
If LoSHR has a flaw, it’s that it has suffered character-creep. The comic periodically gives us glimpses at some of the other heroes (such as A-lister Asstronomicus, whose chin has so deep a cleft he should wear underpants on his face), or Flying Fox-Man (whose secret cave apparently is located underneath Lazer Pony’s rental home)… or for that matter the Z-rate villains who Lazer Pony has befriended. In addition, the female heroes tend to be someone two-dimensional (ironic, seeing they all possess the MCSP); admittedly, with Mary Sue (Lazer Pony’s girlfriend who only flaws are clumsiness and the inability to remain in a long-term relationship) this may be more a design feature than flaw.
The comic tends to switch between gag-a-day strips and short storylines that don’t seem to have any significant impact. The primary cast is unable to do anything effective, while the secondary cast has grown so great that there’s insufficient plot to go around. That said, the comic seems to enjoy poking fun at the superhero genre as a whole. Fortunately, the superhero genre has more than enough material that if all the comic did was ridicule the genre, it could update daily for years without repeating itself. And for that alone it’s worth reading.