PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Comics

American Way #1

William Gatevackes

America loves conspiracies. Whether it is about who killed our leaders, the nasty truth about our natural disasters, or who ends up winning American Idol, we always try to construct the story behind the story.

American Way #1

Publisher: Wildstorm Productions
Contributors: Georges Jeanty (Artist)
Price: $2.99
Writer: John Ridley
Item Type: Comic
Length: 32
Publication Date: 2006-04
Amazon

America loves conspiracies. Whether it is about who killed our leaders, the nasty truth about our natural disasters, or who ends up winning American Idol, we always try to construct the story behind the story. We try to explain the unexplainable.

So then it seems only fitting that a conspiracy-themed story would be titled The American Way. The story takes place in 1961, in the midst of the Cold War. One of the biggest assets our side has is the Civil Defense Corps, a group of super powered individuals united to protect our shores. The CDC has been keeping America safe from Nazis, space aliens, and commies for decades. But there is a secret about the CDC that the rest of America doesn't know.

What's the secret? That it's all a sham. The Civil Defense Corps, and the villains they fight, are all actors in the employ of the Federal Government. Sure, they have super powers, but these powers have either been augmented through the government's genetic experimentation or are created by the government's technology.

So the team is basically another weapon of the Cold War, an answer to the Russians' Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin. They are a symbol of hope that also serves to take America's mind off of being second in the space race or the embarrassment that was the Bay of Pigs.

This is a good concept for the series. Even though it is set in the past, the idea of our government lying to us is as timely as today's headlines. I doubt this fact was lost on the comic's creators.

The American Way#1 is an issue long exposition for the series. It explains the concept and introduces us to our main character, a failed automobile marketing executive named Wesley who was brought in by his old college friend Bobby Kennedy to help market the team to the public. Wesley is introduced briefly at the beginning of the book and his presence is felt in the captions throughout, but we really don't get to know him well until the end of the book.

Normally, having your main character not be the focus of the issue and barely touching on the main plot of the series would lead to an awful book. Not so much with The American Way. The issue serves to set up the world these characters live in and the problems they must face. As it is, the book stands as a good story on its own. If the ending was changed so that it didn't end in a cliffhanger, you would still be left with a fairly entertaining one shot.

However, the one flaw of the issue is that, judging by the solicitation copy for future books, it doesn't tell us much about the overall plot of the series. It establishes one of the themes of the book, how the government misleads its citizens, quite well. It has a good story but since it was the first issue of a series, more should have been revealed to get readers interested in the upcoming months.

However, the broad strokes the issue paints the series in are enough to grab this reviewer's interest. It sets up the controversy in a plausible fashion and interweaves the fictional characters in with the history of that time period seamlessly. It is good enough that I will continue with the series in the hopes that the storyline will be as good as this first issue.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brasil with Trump's America.

Music

The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.

Music

Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.

Music

15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.

Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Music

Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.

Music

Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.

Music

Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.

Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.