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May 17, 2010

Cla$$war Kicks A$$!

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Written by: Andy
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“This is a sign, man. You see the letters in widescreen? Large and proud, saying…Don’t fuck with Uncle Sam.” -Isaac, Cla$$war

Com.X’s Cla$$war. Man, it’s awesome stuff.

The Cla$$war Hardcover, which you can win by participating in The Giveaway in May contest (details below)!

For me, the excitement began with the introduction pieces in the hardcover collection which was printed last year (Cla$$war was released as 6 individual issues from 2002-2004). There are three intros written for the book, the first being by Andy Diggle. Diggle is the man responsible for getting me into Daredevil, a character whom I’ve never been able to seriously read until he took over the writing reigns with issue #501. Amidst all of this Dark Reign, Siege, and Heroic Age madness, Daredevil is one of the best unsung titles being published by Marvel today. So Diggle’s encouraging story that he tells in the intro, followed by his enthusiastic support of not only Cla$$war, but of Com.X as a whole, was enough to get me reared up to dive headfirst into this sexy hardcover collection.

What I read next was one of the best social commentary pieces in the sequential format to be published in the new millennium.

At its core, Cla$$war is about the superhero named American. He is called thus because he not only represents the power of the United States, but also its heart and soul and global mission of liberty, equality, and justice for all. He has a moral code, but unfortunately through a pointed list of events, his country has grown to lack one. American not only has the balls and justification to make a stand against his corrupt government, but the power and means to do so. And you can’t help but root for the guy from every fiber of your being; like a buck fighting for his life against a pack of hungry wolves. American’s beliefs are in the hearts of every U.S. citizen; a love for one’s country, and an idealized expectation for that country to be a beacon of hope and a rock of liberty in an otherwise tumultuous worldly ocean. So what happens when those hearts and minds are spat upon by the men and political organizations people have trusted with their lives and safety (and money)? Who among the little people has what it takes to right the wrongs? Anyone? Sadly in today’s world its become all too easy for the little guy to get snuffed out by “The Man”. Luckily though in Cla$$war, American is “The Man” and he took action.

But before any of that went down, American worked for the U.S. government and fought in the superhero group, Enola Gay. If you think the name is funny, click this link and do society a favor. Besides American, the team is made up of super “heroes” named Icon, Heavyweight, Burner, Confusion, and American’s sidekick, Young American, who all have their own set of powers.

Enola Gay in action as depicted by Trevor Hairsine (click to enlarge).

American is essentially Superman- he can fly, fire lasers out of his eyes, is invulnerable, and has super strength, he’s the team leader. Icon essentially has the same powers, only she’s female and very well composed both physically, and more importantly, mentally. Young American also has a similar power set, though he’s not as experienced. Heavyweight is a huge black dude who could pound the hell out of anything, whereas Burner is an obnoxious skinny white punk of a guy who can torch everything in sight. Confusion, whose personality and demeanor remind me a lot of Delirium from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, can manipulate and control people with her mind. In short, Enola Gay is deployed across the world in situations where the military needs a boost of firepower or has to send a destructive direct message to an enemy…enemies who very much resemble those of the United States in the world today. Unfortunately, Enola Gay isn’t exactly the model image of characters they’re portrayed as being to the public.

They’re all riddled with personal flaws like cravings for hardcore drugs, sex, violence, or a love for killing and sick mockery. All of them, except American. The antagonists in Cla$$war are multiple: from American’s corrupt teammates, to the wacko scientists who created the possibility for superhuman’s to exist, to an American President who believes waging war will bolster the Nation’s patriotic spirit while simultaneously lowering the national debt (and sadly, he’s right!). American’s the only member of his team (and in society?) who has what it takes to draw the line, and one day he finally does. One day American calls out the American government on live nationally broadcast television. He states that he’s sick of being Uncle Sam’s puppet; sick of fighting in the name of corruption, power, and lies that cost the lives of thousands. And so he makes a stand and he pays a price for what he believes in.

It’s awesome to behold.

Partly because he kicks major ass for a righteous cause, but also because the artwork by Trevor Hairsine (issues #1-#3) and Travel Foreman (issues #4-#6) is amazing stuff. Every panel is loaded with detail, and the layouts provide for smooth transitions and a dynamic visual structure. I know Trevor Hairsine gets all the credit for Cla$$war, but I actually enjoyed the work of Travel Foreman a little more, as his style really grabbed me. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t expecting an art shift come issue #4 and I welcomed the surprise, or maybe it’s because shit really hits the fan in the final three issues, but whatever the reason, his art is absolutely gorgeous.

It's Enola Gay come to kick your ass! (art by Travel Foreman)

Full page spread by Travel Foreman.

This was one of my favorite scenes in the book, also by Foreman; the scientist behind the superhuman program perfects his final creation to combat American…

…and it's a powerful moment! The writing of this scene is great, especially the first panel on this page. In it the scientist relives all of his gory failures in exultation while witnessing his final creation come to life. It's sickeningly engrossing.

Since Cla$$war, Hairsine has penciled a bunch of stuff, most notably X-Men: Deadly Genesis, a run on Captain America, Star Wars Rebellion, and a bunch of Magic the Gathering cards. Surprisingly Travel Foreman hasn’t been as busy, but has still produced some great work in Immortal Iron Fist, Ares: God of War, and an issue of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

It’s difficult to believe that Cla$$war is writer Rob Williams’ first ever sequential work. He states in one of the introductions that the idea came to him when he read that George W. and Jeb Bush “may one day soon make a serious run at the Republican leadership.” And we all know how that turned out! There’s no denying that the Presidential administration in Cla$$war is a direct satire (if not criticism) of the Bush administration, and Williams admits he gets a little long winded and a bit too obvious at times in his satire, but I just chalk that up to him being modest. There was only one moment that took me off guard, a trivial one, and that was when Heavyweight refers to a line one waits in as a “queue”. Hah! Americans never say the word “queue”. Oh the British and their funny names for things.

American looking bad ass. (click to enlarge)

The climax Williams writes in this book is so fucking awesome. He teases you along the way, tricking you into believing the climax has already come, one that you thought was really great, really powerful, only to learn a few moments later what the climax really is. In short, the feeling’s like making love while on mind expanding drugs. What American does next in response to what happens, is loaded with so much emotional irony that you feel it rip at your heart, destroying the very foundation of everything you ever wanted to believe in as you watch a man compromise his morals in a bout of anger and rage. It’s painful to take in.

It’s no surprise that Williams is still writing comics today, his most recent work being released just last Wednesday in Deadpool Team Up #893 (the Captain Britain issue)! Other works include Punisher MAX: Get Castle one-shot, Dynamite’s Robocop, and Shadowland: Ghost Rider one-shot which debuts in August 2010 with X-Force’s Clayton Crain doing the art.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Cla$$war:

“There ain’t no point in going nowhere. That boy can out fly the chopper in his sleep. ‘Sides, the First Lady’s loaded, out cold and dreaming of Ricky Martin.” -The President of the United States of America

“We’re supposed to be helping people.” -American

“I have not turned my back upon our country. I am going to be fighting for America and its people…those who believe in the same ideals held sacred by our fore-fathers. You are being lied to, people of America. It’s time to do something about it.” -American

“Just give the little powder slut the prick, honey. You know she wants it.” -Favre

“I think they may be sedating me. Or maybe it’s the TV. I don’t know.” -Jefferson

Sadly, Cla$$war is all too relevant to America’s global and political situation today. However, American does what none of us ordinary folk have the means to do: he rips the skin off of America’s smirking political face and leaves the writhing, squirming, maggots and thick black ooze that lies underneath exposed for all the world to see. And he punches it over and over again. He punches it until he’s covered in his own sweat, blood, and tears. He punches it until he has made a difference.

Don’t we all wish we could be like American.

American.

For more from Com.X click this link.

Win your very own copy of the Cla$$war hardcover by participating in our Giveaway in May contest (click for details)!

Andy Liegl
andy@comicattack.net

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6 Comments



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eddie Deighton, Comic Attack. Comic Attack said: Cla$$war kicks a$$!! https://comicattack.net/2010/05/clawar-kicks-a/ #comics #politics @EdComX […]



  2. I know I’m not eligible to win this (damn!) but it will most definitely get ordered!


  3. Billy

    Andy, you didn’t like Bendis’ run on Daredevil?



  4. […] Team-Up #893 (Marvel) Andy: Meh. It’s no Cla$$war, that’s for […]



  5. It’s not that I hated it, but it didn’t get me to read DD on a monthly basis.

    But hey, we’re talking about CLA$$WAR!! Now go read it!



  6. […] Cla$$war Kicks Major A$$ Forty-Five45 Razorjack: A Fun Ride for Horror Fans Path Interview with Forty-Five45 writer, Andi Ewington […]



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