Prez #3

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.

-Jay

Tales From the Pull List (Aug. 12th): We are living in a (Im)material world

Pick of the Week:

Phonogram: The Immaterial girl #1: So full disclosure: I own the first two volumes of Phonogam, and I have read them both numerous times. When I found out that they were making another volume of it I freaked out. I marked the day on my calender, and stared longingly at it. With this hype I had built, a worrisome thought crept into my mind: what if it didn’t live up to the hype I had created in my own head? What if the beauty of what it had been overshadowed what it will be. I am happy to report that it lived up to the hype I had created for it, and then some. The issue is a nostalgia filled roller coaster of emotion. Gillen’s script is so good that at times it hurts. The art by McKelvie and Wilson holds up to its standard of excellence and more.  Wilson has cemented (in my mind at least) his status of the best color artist in the game. Seriously, is there a better creative team than Gillen, McKelvie, and Wilson? I dare you try, I know you’ll fail. Go buy this issue.If you haven’t read the previous volumes of Phonogram you will still enjoy it. If you have you’ll enjoy it even more. Rating: 10/10

Buy

Injection #4: More of the back story is explored in this issue, but the answers are coupled with more questions. Ellis, Shalvey, and Bellaire craft an excellent issue with lots of character development. With more of the background being revealed you finally get a sense of what’s going on, and that in and of it’s self is exciting. Not as much action this issue as the bulk of it was dedicated to back story. An almost antithesis of issue three really. I’m excited to continue this series and see which bends first: Science, or magic. Rating: 7/10

Gotham Academy #9: Another strong showing for my favorite series from DC. Could there be a wolf at Gotham Academy? Or something more sinister? This issue builds on the mystery that surrounds Olive’s mother while providing plenty of action in the for of a man bat and a wolf man(?). We discover that certain people are excellent at science, and that they may or may not have a secret layer. The creative team of Cloonan, Fletcher, Kerschl, Lapointe, and Msassyk continue to deliver month after month. At this point if you aren’t reading Gotham Academy you might want to re-evaluate your life. Rating: 8/10

A-Force #3: She-hulk finds herself in the midst of trouble after jumping threw the portal from the end of issue two. Will she be able to make it back to her team? Whats the meaning of the portals? What’s causing them? All these questions are, more or less, answered in this issue. I’ll keep this mini review spoiler free though. A-Force continues to be a fresh air in what is starting to feel like an aimost-stale mega event. The only titles I read from Secret Wars is Secret Wars and this title. I am glad it’s continuing after Battleworld is no more. Rating: 7/10

Secret Wars #5: Speaking of Secret Wars, the main title continues to surprise me. I know I’ve said it before but Jonathan Hickman is a genius, or a mad scientist. One of the two. In this issues we see the repercussions of the shocking end to Issue 4 (no spoilers, just know that it was indeed shocking). We learn more of how God Doom was able to save what fragments of the muti-verse that he did save (with the helm\p of a very special someone). Truly the exploration of how battleworld came to be is fascinating to me. It’s clear that this event was months, no, years in the making. The art by Ribic continues to astound. All in all a great addition to a great series. Rating: 8/10

Skip

Starfire #3: Honestly the only reason I got this issue is because I pre-ordered it months ago. I can see why other people like it, it’s just not for me. Rating: 3/10

Descender #6: This issue really fell flat for me. Which is a pity because I’ve really enjoyed the overall series. I hope that Jeff Lemire can turn it around for the next issue. Rating: 5/10

Tales from the pull list June 10th: It’s a Weirdworld

Hello Revuers! This week I am trying out something new. I am going to list all of the comics I bought or read and place them into three categories: Pick(s) of the week, Buy, or Pass. Let me know what you think of this new article and if you like, it or if I should go back to pick of the week, in the comment section below. Your feedback is appreciated. With out further delay here we go:

Pick of the week:

Weirdworld #1

Weirdworld #1 is a tale of a king stranded on a, well weird, world looking for a way back home. The antagonist Akron is the ruler of the kingdom Polemachus, who due to the events of Secret Wars has been stranded on a floating island. Which he then names Weirdworld, due to all the strange and impossible dangers he has had to face, These include: Squidsharks, dragons,  fire rain, hawk-squatch hybrid, etc. etc. This issue really serves as an introduction to Weirdworld and our protagonist, although plenty of action is offered in the second half of the issue. I wont spoil it, go read it. What drew (all puns intended) to this issue was the art. The series features the artistic talents of the art team behind the latest volume of Elektra: Mike Del Mundo, and Marco D’Alfonso. This fantastic duo draw and color a world beyond our imagination. Where hard neon colors stab through soft pastels, where blood flows green and grass grows red. All in all this artistic team delivers on what were high expectations (by me at least).

Rating: 8.5/10

Buy:

Gotham Academy #7: The gang is back! Well some of them. A new character emerges, and joins Maps in a quest to discover the secret of the (magic?) quill.

Rating: 7/10

Decscender #4: Excellent character development this issue, with still fantastic art. I am excited to see if robots really do dream.

rating: 6/10

Injection #2: This series has started off to a slow start for me. I was very excited to pick it up, since it features the creative team behind the first arc of Moon Knight. So far it has left me a little disappointed. However it did just enough to keep me interested in purchasing issue 3.

Rating 4/10

Silk #5 Another solid issue and return of artist Stacey Lee. There was a heartwarming moment in the middle of the issue that I wont give away, but lets just say it was from a character you wouldn’t expect.

Rating: 6.5/10

Spider-Gwen #5: Interesting work with the black cat. Also having Matt as a villain is an interesting twist. The art was fantastic, and it really got a lift from the outstanding coloring job by Rico Renzi. Seriously, is there a colorist better right now?

Rating: 7.5/10

Silver Surfer #12: This issue felt a little stale, with similar themes and plot ideas as the last issue, however, Michael and Laura Allreds art saves it for me.

Rating: 5.5/10

Pass:

Starfire #1: Really didn’t do it for me. Also, all the “wow, starfire is hot” moments felt weird to me. Some of the thought bubble pictures were funny though.

Rating: 4/10

Ultimate end #2: Maybe I just didn’t get into the Ultimate universe enough to care, but I just can’t get into this series.

Rating: 4/10

Constantine the Hellblazer #1: Bogged down by dialogue in my opinion. Some interesting and striking art choices though.

Rating: 4/10

All in all this week was pretty good. As I stated before let me know what you think of the new format in the comments section.

-Andrew Horton