Maps reveal details about fictional worlds. The maps provided in fantasy and science fiction stories – including fantasy and science fiction comics – help ground the story, giving readers a sense of the story’s setting and dynamics. For example, an examination of the U.S. presidential election map presented in the first issue of the DC Comics series Prez offers details about the story’s political landscape. The map and the electoral votes won by the presidential candidates reveal that in the comic’s future setting, today’s “blue states” (that is, states that usually vote for Democratic candidates) have lost political power to today’s Republican “red states.”
At Nothing But Comics, we’re excited to read the upcoming Prez series from DC Comics, by creators Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell. So we tasked DC Comics’ futuristic robot Skeets with asking the two creators an important question about the character.
Hello Friends! It’s been a while since I put up a review, and I’ve missed you all terribly. However, I’m back just in time to review one of the more intriguing books DC has rolled out in recent years. Prez #1 represents a step forward for DC, in both art and story it is a big departure from most everything published–by DC–the last four years, and it was a wonderfully refreshing thing to see. This first issue requires a lot of setup, but it is handled well, we arrive in a possible near-future version of our own world, and the political atmosphere has gone off the deep end. We meet our protagonist, some side players, and our assumed villain(s); we’re given some insight into all of their motivations and personalities, and I think we were provided a well established genesis for the series. This sounds very formulaic, but the introduction to this world and the manner with which it’s presented, combined with fantastic art to make Prez #1 a very good first issue.
Story: I’m not familiar with Mark Russell, but my first impression is very positive–and a little research proves he’s perfect for this title. He uses humor and satire to great effect, and manages to build a world that is ridiculous and worryingly believable all at once. This satirical bend on where our society is heading conjured fond memories of Idiocracy, especially the scene concerning the welfare debate :) It is a future where YouTube celebrities and social media have completely overrun the traditional political process, and the players involved in the political game have no choice but to go with the trend. Candidates are forced to appear on goofy YouTuber shows to get noticed by the voters, or traditional candidates are foregone all together, and someone like our protagonist Beth gets nominated due to a viral video resulting in her own “Failblog fame”.
I don’t want to spoil much of the specifics, but you can surmise that Russell does a great job exploiting the Kardashian level of fame that has become all to prevalent in our modern society; in fact, the Kardashians might be too famous now to actually use their name in that equivocation–sorry ladies. The point is, in this book at least, that Twitter, Youtube, and our infatuation with social media as a society, could lead to Chris Crocker or David becoming a presidential candidate. I thought it was a creative and humorous way to poke fun at the easiest target of all, America’s ridiculous culture of celebrity. I’m happy to see DC putting something this socially aware on the shelves, and I hope to see it succeed, because it is worth your time, so please go buy it if you haven’t.
Art: It would be a travesty to do a review without mentioning Ben Caldwell, Mark Morales, and Jeremy Lawson. I was unfamiliar with all of them when I opened this comic, but they all impressed me considerably with their work on this gorgeous issue. First off, the faces, you’ve heard me mention it before and it’s something that I always pay attention to. Ben Caldwell draws some wonderful expressions. Every page is full of multiple facial expressions and they’re all easy to read. It makes such a difference to me when I see a face and register a feeling associated with it, and then read dialogue that perfectly goes with or enhances the situation, or vice versa really; the point is Caldwell’s characters emote, and they emote properly for the situation they’re experiencing.
Another thing I noticed right away was that every character looked distinctive, you know like in real life? No one suffered from “Same face syndrome”, there was a variety of race, age, and gender, and all were rendered beautifully. Caldwell has a charming style; his line work is tight, yet contains whimsy, it’s cartoonish, but not juvenile. Basically, it’s completely rad, and I’m a big fan. The style also goes perfectly with the story being told, the book is fun, and so is the art; I don’t know why it took DC so long to figure that out, but I’m glad they did. Morales and Lawson compliment Caldwell wonderfully, the colors are bright and expressive, and the inks are varied in weight and clean. All three work in harmony with one another, and it makes the art that much more fun to look at and soak up.
Conclusion: I enjoyed this very much, and I confidently recommend it, especially if you’re looking for something other than super heroics . Fans of Batgirl, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and satirical comedy should give this a shot.
So what say you NBC! faithful? What did you all think of Prez #1? Please let me know how much you didn’t miss me, or plain forgot I existed these last several months, I can take it. You could rejoice in my return, and declare my greatness across the internet, or at least in the comments section; I’ll let you decide :)