Headlines   2002 Review Index   July 17, 2002

Suspended Animation

Michael Vance - Mark Allen
Michael Vance Books

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American Century

      There are basically two ways to live. You can be selfless and make life better by trying to overcome personal flaws that hurt people, or you can be selfish and make life more wretched by wallowing in activities that hurt every-one.  Most people do a bit of both.

      The comic book American Century wallows in selfish. 

      "The daily grind of post-war America was grinding Harry Block beneath its heel," reads an opening caption that sets this title's stage and tone. "So Harry stepped out and reinvented himself….

      "He left his marriage, his job and his troubles, choosing instead to live his new and improved life as Harry Kraft, a no-nonsense Joe with his own set of rules."

      So Harry responds to a world that grinds him beneath its heel by grinding it beneath his boot.  How noble. 

      Huh? you query. 

      Try the following rewrite from a different view.

      The responsibilities of earning a living and being a husband and citizen were hard, so Harry abandoned them, disserting his wife and breaking his vows, mooching off of society and skirting his troubles, choosing instead to live for no one but Harry who had his own rules.

      So, thinks Harry, since life is terrible, let's make it worse. Life, after all, is all about Harry.

      Yeah, yeah, this little slice of nasty life is technically well written and certainly well drawn.  But, unlike most reviewers who think content above criticism, this one offers this comment on the content of American Century:  raspberries.

      Or, if my comment were written by this comic book's creative team: @#@!*   

%@*!!!&%@ (*%@#!!!!!!!!

      Because of profanity, perversity, nihilism and just plain nastiness, the "Suggested for mature readers" on the cover of this issue is misleading.  American Century is for immature readers.  MV

      American Century #14/$2.50 & 22 pgs., Vertigo (DC) Comics/words: Howard Chaykin and David Tischman; pencils: Louke Ross/sold at comics shops and by mail at www.dccomics.com

       Review by Michael Vance


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