There’s been a quiet stirring of revolution in the land of DC Comics, and we’re seeing that pay out in spades with books like Starfire, Doctor Fate, Justice League United, Bizarro, and Prez. A spin-off of a short-lived title introduced in the early 1970’s, the original Prez series detailed the life of “The First Teen President of the U.S.A.!” While only running for four issues (with a fifth appearing later in Cancelled Comics Cavalcade, it was one of those signature oddities of DC comics in the 60’s and 70’s that resonated with a generation of comics readers. But, like Sugar and Spike, Prez was destined to be a vision of times past – not something that could be brought into the present continuity or marketplace.
Enter the DC You, the continuity reboot of the New 52, that throws hard continuity to the wind and lets creators run a little more freely through not only the established DC Universe, but also lets them embrace the bizarre – which, I’m pleased to report, Prez does without hesitation. Again, the story of a teenager elected president, Prez this time around stars Beth Ross, known as ‘Corndog Girl’ due to an unfortunate incident with a fryer caught virally on the web. Also involved is the original namesake of the title, Preston Rickard, as her Vice President. In 2036, the United States is a place of excess and little – it’s a living, breathing dichotomy of the haves and have-nots. Workers are timed on their breaks, their speed is clocked to ensure that they are operating at peak performance, and are subsequently fired if what they dispose of during bathroom breaks isn’t deemed to be fitting of the time taken in the restroom.
It’s pure madness. Gameshows are held for people to win money still, but the ultimate prize can only be won if you’re willing to shoot yourself. American imperialism is rampant, and we invade countries and destroy villages that we think are the aggressors, without proof. Everything is bought and sold. Everything, and everyone a commodity. It’s a bleak look into our future, and it’s not something that we can really say is too far away from (an admittedly ultra-shocking version of) our reality. We live a life of digital indulgence, and our society avoids responsibility to worship at the altar of reality stars and celebrity spokespeople.
That’s where Beth steps in. Tired of the hand life has dealt her, Beth immediately becomes a force for improvement and an inspiration after experiencing a deep personal tragedy. As she is a teenager and a Washington outsider, she’s able to form a Cabinet for her presidency that features the correct people for the job – favors aren’t used to fill positions with substandard candidates, instead, scientists are placed in charge of the expansion of the sciences! Corrupt ambassadors to the United Nations are fired. And Beth, who could have handled this all by phone, instead does everything face-to-face. She’s a driving force of good in an otherwise incredibly corrupt society.
Personally, I love this series thus far, and at three issues in, there’s not a bit of it that I can find a lot of fault with. The characters are wickedly over the top, except for the two that count the most – Beth and Preston. The artwork is bright, quirky, and has such great pacing and panel manipulation that the book feels like it’s a television show with how it moves throughout the page. I was worried for awhile that we weren’t going to see past six issues of this incredibly niche title, but in a Facebook post on the 27th of August, Dan Didio of DC Comics stated that the final six issues will be solicited at a later date. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s at least shining a light that we’ll see more in the future from Beth Ross. Give Prez a shot if you haven’t yet – is it quirky? Absolutely. Is it for everyone? Certainly not. But it’s definitely for me.