The first issue of this series caused quite a stir when it was released. Concerns over how Image promoted the title as a “feel good” story, combined with the open use of drugs and drug paraphernalia, resulted in mixed reviews, despite craftsmanship that was solid overall.
Now that the furor over what people THOUGHT this book was about has died down, it’s as good a time as any to tall about what it actually IS.
It is a series indelibly linked to American drug culture, both legal and illegal.
The second issue joins series protagonist Jasper Jenkins as he scrambles to gather his resinated wits and figure out what, exactly has happened to him and where, precisely he has found himself. He hazily explores a world where people seem to show him a level of respect, though he has no idea why. His confusion is understandable, given his mental state, but even the reader who does not partake in any illicit substances can feel a certain identification with Jasper, as the narrative bounces back and forth between Jasper’s story and that of the people pulling the strings.
Casey manages to concoct this undercurrent of political intrigue while simultaneously guiding us through Jasper’s disjointed attempts to figure out what is happening to him, and also interspersing the first few nuggets of the actual origin of his abilities. Casey is pulling no punches with this month’s script, as there are segments of dialogue that hurl barbs at politicians, the military, and the global pharmaceuticals industry that influences and sometimes exercises control of both. There is one particularly chilling moment when the main antagonist and his puppet general ride past the White House in a limousine, stating “…it’s like driving past a museum piece, isn’t it?”
David Messina’s art continues to be a treat. Together with colorist Giovanna Niro, Messina crafts a world that is filled with alternate parts high-resolution light and murky darkness. This contrast is used to great effect in amplifying the tone of Casey’s dialogue, with the political intrigue being shadowed in browns and yellows, while the fantasy elements are almost painfully bright.
The book has a foul mouth, but it’s got an awful lot to say.
Prescription drugs vs street drugs. Corporations vs black markets. Corporations in CONTROL of black markets.
Model legislation. Private control of public regulation.
It’s strange to see a title like this, which this site and others have referred to as “Shazam for Stoners’, make such an effort to address relevant topics. If it manages to stay on track, it should be a very interesting series indeed.
Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website. He also hosts the weekly Infinite Crossover podcast in cooperation with Fanboys Inc. He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and daytime supporter of all things technical. contact: firstname.lastname@example.org