Saturday, September 12, 2009

Life and Times of Savior 28 #5 (of 5) – A Review

Life and Times of Savior 28 #5

Publisher IDW

Writer JM DeMatteis

Artist Mike Cavallaro

Colors Andrew Covalt

I enjoyed this series and also did not enjoy it. I will have to go and buy the trade paperback one day, just to read the entire book in one sitting, but this book ended and left me very ambivalent about the entire story.

I guess what really struck me this issue was that JM DeMatteis really felt a need to preach to his audience. Not that there has not always been that element in this series, it just became very heavy handed and so text heavy that the pictures were almost superfluous. Also it felt like a typical liberal message about community service. Personally if I want to do community or if my kids want to do it, that is fine, it is just that the government has slowly been making it mandatory via the school and judicial system. Forced service is not the same as giving of your time. In this story it feels like DeMatteis was saying community service was better then being a super hero. So saving a thousand lives from a tidal wave is less important then feeding a hot meal to a homeless person. That type of thinking just makes me gag. I guess what left me with that feeling was the last two pages of the story when we find out that Savior 28 is still alive. We find out he is not dead, that he did get regenerated but was left in a wheel chair. (I guess the stone only decided to fix him so far, which was left unexplained and just felt very dumb.) He now helps run a community shelter and we got to see a picture of Obama on TV placed behind him. Again it felt so heavy handed and felt like it made the whole story a lie, as we had “known” he was dead from issue #1. Especially since it ended before those two pages with his ex-partner blowing his brains out since he could not live with having killed Savior 28.

I guess what I see after thinking about this book that anyone can tear down the whole super hero thing and say it is unrealistic, because it is unrealistic. The super hero myth in the US is all about an adolescent power fantasy and as an adult we realize that it is, what it is. It does not mean that it is any less fun to read it as an adult. Heck in today’s world where many feel powerless against an overwhelming government and corporate bureaucracy these little fantasy escapes maybe just what the doctor ordered.

As I was reading this issue I almost got the feeling DeMatteis was not 100% sure where to go with this story. It was obvious that he wanted to get some shots in against the Bush administration and needed to sing the praises of the Obama administration and that always annoys me as I think both were/are screwing up the country. For me it detracted from the story that was more important and that was the story of Savior 28. I felt the story was what do you do if you are a super hero and you are trying to fix the wrongs of the world. Elliott Maggin a long time ago tried to tackle that subject with Superman at least once, maybe twice and it had that empty kind of feeling to it also.

I believe that bottom line problem is trying to take fantasy based characters and applying them against the real world will almost always fail. It is because the problems of an economic downtown, too high of taxes, fighting wars in countries we don’t belong in, poverty, starvation and all the other human ills are not issues that fit into a power fantasy. It would be like having Frodo from Lord in the Rings pull out a sub-machine gun in the middle of Lord of the Rings to take out some bad guys. Sometimes you can’t mash genres because they don’t make any sense being put together. Star Trek would not be exciting or interesting if they came to a planet and showed them had to set up better irrigation systems.

If nothing else it was thought provoking and made me think, which is always a good thing. Heck I may even buy the trade to re-examine the story from a single sitting perspective, so in that way the series was a success. It failed from the perspective of what was the point the writer was trying to make. The reason I think it failed is because as I finished the book I was and still am ambivalent about my feeling on the story. If the point was you can make a bigger impact one person at a time, then that is a fantasy also, since things like a smallpox vaccine and other things were not one person at a time and they were more important to humanity they setting up a homeless shelter.

The art side of the book was a success. Mike Cavallaro’s clean line work, panel layouts and page designs made the book read and look great. The color work maintained a consistent tone to the book and always enhanced the art and never overwhelmed the art.

Overall Grade – TBD once I read the trade someday down the road.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a lack of vision for the direction of the story as much as an issue of politics.