by Victor Gischler and Tazio Bettin
Make no mistake, this is a blasphemous book. It takes some balls to lampoon the founding fathers of America, to show them as skirt-chasing, foul-mouth drunkards.
The book opens with George Washington, in his 20s, as his father scolds him for ungentlemanly conduct. As he turns away to look at his newly planted cherry tree, George angrily marches outside and begins chopping it down. His axe flies away, and strikes a Native American totem pole which hits him with a strange, green energy.
He moves to Philadelphia and makes a friend in Paul Revere, himself a lazy slacker who lets George do all his work. George accepts this openly, as he now blurts out how he feels and cannot stretch the truth in any regard. They work as servants to Lord Hammond, whose plans to use black magic for revolt against Great Britain are threatened by the arrival of his niece, the Lady Kate. As she begins snooping into her uncle’s secret hobby, George and Paul rush to warn Ben Franklin of a coming thunderstorm. Soon, all of them are gathered against a group of muggers as lightening hits both Ben and George.
There isn’t a lot of historical accuracy here, which is good because the book is very farcical. George Washington never chopped down his father’s cherry tree and the story that he did described him as a child not a 20 year old. The characters speak with a mostly modern cadence, rarely attempting period appropriate dialogue. However, this allows Gischler to both poke fun at the founding fathers and humanize them. The idea of Paul Revere being a thieving layabout is funny on multiple levels. Even a passing knowledge of American History should allow readers to both understand and anticipate the humor used.
The art by Bettin is good in places, with some panels looking like either characters or backgrounds took precedent. The art more than the story is a little faithful to historical accuracy and cements the time period in your mind. His style has a classical bent to it here which helps sell the story.
There will be more mysticism in the coming issues and I’m curious to see how the character’s respond to Lord Hammond rebelling against Great Britain. Will they try to stop him and in the process accidentally help create the United States of America or will that be in the background of a National Treasure-esque adventure? Regardless, the humor alone is enough to bring me back for more.
Truly one of the most perverse books I’ve read this year, The Order of the Forge is an enjoyable if conflicted read.