Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Max Bemis
Artist: Ransom Getty
Release Date: 23rd April 2014
It’s tough work, inciting folk to question the status quo. Do you shout out them until they change their way of thinking? Or do you present them with a warped reality where everything is going to shit? Or do you just keep squirrelling away at your agenda until somebody takes note.
Max Bemis opts for a little of all three with Evil Empire – there’s certainly some shouty bits, there’s more than a hint of a warped reality, and then there’s a slow-burning, character driven plot that’s the ostensible foreground, which, at this stage, can only go in interesting directions. What’s more, it’s all surprisingly slickly tied together, especially given the stream-of-consciousness stylings that are endemic of a song-writer trying his hand at forming a narrative. Either Bemis is better at this than he has any right to be – in the bitterly jealous and kinda impressed way, don’t get me wrong! – or Dafna Pleban is one hell of an editor.
If there’re a couple of issues in this department, first it’s that it’s very much an artist’s take on art – Bemis is making a point about politicians hijacking well intentioned art in the name of getting ahead, and this is occasionally a little too present on the end of the bat he’s thwacking at us with. The dialogue can meander somewhat unnaturally because of this, but as said, it’s surprisingly slick despite this.
Also, ‘Two-thousand-and-what-the-fuck-just-happened’ is a stroke of genius. Just putting that out there.
Then there’s Getty’s art, which remains stalwartly excellent, and whilst the first issue was potentially a little spotty in the long shots, here he’s found his running pace, each character clear, distinct and expressive, no matter how far away from the pencil they’re meant to be.
Ultimately, this is an incredibly solid piece, with aspirations to be almost a Fight Club for the 21st Century – an insightful punk rock record distilled into comic book form, and whilst its final proof remains to be seen, it’s setting up a fascinating getting-there, though it’ll take a few more issues to see quite where and why. But right now? All signs are pointing towards getting in on this early.
The writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24