Comic Book: Hero Squared
Super Hero Comic Book series running from 2007-2009, created by Keith Giffen and J.M DeMatteis and published by Boom!Studios.In one universe, Milo Stone is a lazy, immature and irresponsible slacker. In another, he is Captain Valor, a whiter-than-white-bread superhero. When Valor's universe is destroyed after a calamitous battle with Valor's arch-nemesis, Caliginous, Valor finds himself on Milo's doorstop trying to adapt to a universe without any kind of superheroes at all.Forced to live with each other, the two versions of Milo discover a warm, reciprocal loathing for each other; Valor is less-than-impressed with Milo's selfishness and complete failure to make anything of his life, whilst Milo resents Valor's smug self-righteousness and over-simplified view of the world and how it works. Romantic tensions also arise between the two; Valor has taken a shine to Milo's long-suffering girlfriend Stephie, whilst Caliginous — an alternate version of Stephie, whose relationship with Captain Valor ended very, very badly — has followed Valor into the real world, and has taken a shine to Milo...
Provides examples of:
- Black and White Morality: Captain Valor's view of the world is based largely on this. It's gradually subverted throughout the series, however.
- The Cape: Valor.
- Deconstruction: Of Valor's Black and White Morality and the concept of The Cape; Valor means well, but his actions outside of a comic book are in many ways just as destructive and irresponsible as the super-villains he battles. Furthermore, for all his fine talk and self-righteousness, he proves to have feet of clay and similar issues to Milo — which is not entirely unexpected, seeing as they are essentially the same man.
- Grey and Grey Morality: All of the characters are ultimately flawed-but-decent people. Even the supervillain, strangely enough.
- Heroic BSOD: Valor experiences one of these. He ends up re-evaluating his entire outlook of life based on it.
- Holier Than Thou: Captain Valor. His self-righteous condemnation of Milo's various shortcomings, including his previous adultery on Stephie, are somewhat undermined by revelations about his conduct in the alternate universe; he once had an affair with a superheroine, the fallout of which was partially responsible for the alternate Stephie becoming Caliginous. He's also quite quick to move in on Stephie when she breaks up with Milo which, his assertion that he didn't intend for it to happen aside, is a little low of him.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Valor willing allows Caliginous to kill him, hoping that it will shock Caliginous into ending her universe-destructing rampage. It works.
- Odd Couple: Valor and Milo.
- Only Sane Woman: Stephie's probably the most down-to-earth character in the book.
- Other Me Annoys Me
- The Rashomon: One issue deals with the destruction of Valor's universe in flashback, from both Valor and Caliginous' perspectives; both, naturally, vary significantly, and we never really find out whose was closer to the truth. Given her conduct, we suspect that Caliginous' version, where she comes off as being whiter than white, isn't entirely accurate; however, Valor's Black and White Morality blinkering doesn't make him an entirely reliable witness.
- Smug Super: Valor, in some ways.
- 10-Minute Retirement: After a particularly destructive battle and a bout of Heroic BSOD, Valor resolves to change his ways and quit being a superhero. Curiously, he sticks to it.
- There Are No Therapists: Subverted; the penultimate issue pretty much involves forcing Captain Valor and Caliginous to meet Milo's therapist and work through their respective issues together, with Milo and Stephie getting some pointers while they're at it. It almost works. Almost.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Definitely Caliginous.