Prez #6. Mark Russell- Writer, Ben Caldwell- Penciller & Cover Artist, Mark Morales- Inker, Jeremy Lawson- Colorist.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Prez, might be ahead of its time and maybe a little too intellectual for the casual reader. Six issues in, it’s clear that this series is rife with political satire and commentary. And yet, the actual storyline remains interesting and intriguing. At times it is playful and at times it seems deadly serious. Is the world really ready for a comic book that asks the reader to examine the world he or she lives in with such focus?
The Cat-Flu is getting some attention as President Ross is providing support to the research for the cure. However, it seems that not everyone is interested in the cure. There is a lot of political haggling as both parties come to an agreement to pass a bill on the research for the cure that allows for the ownership rights of DNA. Meaning, whoever finds the cure for the flu not only owns the rights to the cure but to cat DNA itself. The absurdity of this is equal to the subsequent proposal by Ross on a Cat-Zone where all felines will be held until a cure is found- the cat owners share their displeasure with the familiar rallying cry “I’ll give you my cat when you pry it from my cold dead hands.”
Meanwhile, the sentient robot, War Beast is finding help after going AWOL. He’s the member of a 12 step program and has become a Christian. He hasn’t entirely put his past behind him as he continues to use his robot abilities to help his friends. In Delaware, President Ross has enlisted the help of a trillionaire inventor with a familiar last name to assist her in getting the Cat-Flu Bill repealed. Fred Wayne helps Ross blackmail the party leaders after receiving samples of their DNA from Ross and through the loophole in the bill now “owns” their DNA. War Beast is looking to strike out on his/her own, yes, his/her and find a job to become self-supporting. Not so coincidentally, War Beast, now known as Tina, has applied as a Presidential body guard. Tina gets the job and the bill is repealed and all the cats are sequestered in the Cat-Zone in Arizona. And there’s a cliffhanger as part one ends. Ross is ready to go on the offensive instead of having to constantly defend herself.
The genre difference in this and DC Superheroes books is a big positive straight way. There’s so much that the creative team can do without having to adhere to any rules or real expectations. Now certainly the characters have to be interesting and likable or this type of series will go nowhere. This series certainly demonstrates that it is possible to diversify the DC line. While the overall tone of the satire leans one way, I felt that there was a bit for everyone. The reader will have to decide for him or herself if it works or not. There’s certainly a lot of contemporary issues that are touched on. The media and social media are not safe either, remember Ross was elected President via Twitter. This functions pretty well as a humor/satire book. It’s nice to see DC do something significantly different. Finally, this series also is able to function on another level and in another genre- teen humour.
If you don’t have a thick skin or need to an excessive amount of action, this is probably not the book for you. It does have a lot of information and exposition in each issue and without a careful reading it could be easy to get lost. This doesn’t detract from the book, but it does come across quite differently from standard superhero fare. Perhaps, one aspect that this book isn’t as strong in this issue is the teen humor angle. Therefore, while being an important aspect of the book, the satirical aspect comes across stronger in Prez #6.
Prez #6 is a decent wrap up of the first half of the storyline. While often it is fun and humorous, at times it seems to tackle situations that require a little more heart and may not always be fodder for satire. Overall, it’s somewhere in the middle, not the best of the first 6 issues. It’s important to keep in mind that we are dealing with some situations that sometimes accurately reflect the world in which we live. I think the thing that this book succeeds at the most is finding a way to comment on our world while not seeming to be about it at all. Because, even the notion of electing a president via Twitter is just as odd as electing a president as the electoral college.