While other comic book writers use carefully crafted dialogue to give their characters depth, Jeph Loeb relies on phrases like “The @#$%ing Hulk is here!” While other writers take beloved characters like Captain America, Iron Man and Thor to new heights, Loeb devolves them into testosterone-overdosed meatheads. While other writers strive to create plots that don’t leave the reader scratching his or her head, Loeb likes to toss in robotic clones at the most inappropriate times. I have a deep hatred for comic book writer Jeph Loeb.

That being said, I have great adoration for Jeph Loeb the writer and co-executive producer of the TV show “Heroes” — the kind of warm, fuzzy feeling that makes me want to travel 2,000 miles to the next Comic-Con, walk up to his booth and giddily wrap my arms around him. As Tim Kring’s (executive producer, “Heroes”) right-hand man, Loeb has helped create a masterpiece that featured dozens of lovable characters connected in a multi-layered and ultimately satisfactory plot. The first season of “Heroes” was so well planned, written and executed that it made people magically forget Loeb ever wrote the screenplay for “Teen Wolf” (1985). His influence on everything from the show’s refreshing take on the humanity of super-powered individuals to its use of long-time pal Tim Sale’s (artist of “Spider-Man: Blue”) paintings made me believe — if only for a second — that Loeb should be known as Mr. Fantastic instead of Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four.

But alas, the good feelings I’ve harbored for Loeb, the television sage, are rapidly dissipating. I may be forced to hate him altogether. The second season of “Heroes” was so awful that during the writer’s strike last year, Kring actually issued an apology to fans.

Last season relied on pointless new characters, provided almost no main character development and employed agonizingly slow-moving plots. As a result, “Heroes” deservedly triggered the fearsome wrath of fanboy bloggers, a powerful force that can only be rivaled by one of Wolverine’s berserker rages.

When the dust cleared after an embarrassing second season, “Heroes” was left without a chunk of its previous audience. While its sophomore collapse is not solely Loeb’s fault, there are some eerie connections. Too many of the show’s ailments reflect the poor choices Loeb has made in his more recent comic books like Hulk and Ultimates 3. As ambassador to the comic world and chief counsel to Kring, Loeb needs to be held at least partially responsible for the show’s current problems.

Looking at his comic book career alone reveals that Loeb’s periods of great creativity follow times where he seems to lose touch with what fans want. His past achievements with DC, like Batman: The Long Halloween (1996-1997), show that he has the ability to write nail-biting detective stories with big pay-offs at the end. Additionally, his early 2000s Marvel color series proves he can dig deeper into a hero’s emotional state than most writers.

But that’s in the past. Whether Loeb is spread too thin over multiple projects or is just trying to shock readers instead of giving them quality nowadays, one thing is clear: He’s not the same.

Yet the mysteriously inconsistent force that is Loeb could end up being the secret to the salvation of “Heroes.” It was Loeb who was there for the birth and fleshing out of the show’s original characters and now it’s his duty to help refocus on these more popular protagonists. He should fight against the creative team’s recent trend of employing one cheap thrill after another and push them to explore meaningful personal interactions between signature personalities. Make no mistake, Loeb can help “Heroes” get back to the basics. He’s an accomplished veteran and must now apply behind-the-scenes pressure on Kring to get things that work onto the television screen.

With season three (the title “Heroes: Villains” signals that the heroes will come together to fight the rise of the “bad guys”), there’s reason to be optimistic that “Heroes” will return to its old form. But let’s get one thing straight: If this season tanks, Loeb has to be held accountable. If he stands idly by while “Heroes” is run into the ground, he might just be the worst villain of all — more than Dr. Doom, Magneto, the Red Skull and the Green Goblin combined.

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