Nat Gertler et al The Factor (2004) - This collection of short pieces is intended to show how a superhero affects the lives of numerous people, all told without ever showing the hero. It’s an intriguing idea bolstered by a variety of art styles (from 17 different artists) but fatally undermined by clumsy writing and pointless stories. For instance, an elderly woman is mugged and calls on the hero for help; barely even a vignette, it’s weighed down by tedious exposition. Or an arrogant, money-grubbing movie star who becomes a nice guy when he plays the hero in a movie is like Harlan Ellison at his worst. You also have to wonder when a Japanese spy claims that they’re only good at air and sea combat because they live on an island; presumably the character should know a bit about Japanese history so the ignorance here would be Gertler’s. There are a couple of good stories--one about a low-level crook who may or may not running a protection scam, another cleverly told through websites and email--but mostly The Factor has nothing to say about people or comics or stories.