June 23, 2017

Top Cow Reviews: Samaritan: Veritas #1

Samaritan: Veritas #1
Publisher: Top Cow
Writer: Matt Hawkins
Artist: Atilio Rojo
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Cover: Atilio Rojo

Hardly shying away from pointed sociopolitical commentary, Top Cow’s Matt Hawkins revisits heroine Samantha Copeland in the techy revenge thriller Samaritan, elevating the titular hacker with her own book.  The writer and creator brashly plows through familiar narrative tropes to establish the character as a savvy underworld operator, doling out vigilantism in the name of justice for her former lover and collaborator. It’s a gauntlet Hawkins navigates with aplomb, never bogged down ham-fisted assertions of subtlety. The book knows exactly what it is and relishes that popcorn synergy.

Truthfully, it is in that break- neck pacing and self- awareness that Samaritan will find its audience. Hawkins brandishes duplicitous government conspirators, hardy paramilitary professionals, and wily tech wizards, casually interspersed with bloviating expository narration from the protagonist. For her considerable skills, I was left wondering if she wasn’t out of her depth. That is really the crux of my issue with issue #1. I am not convinced of the competency of any of the players. From the blatant ineptitude of a team of military operators with an apparent fully functioning command and control center foiled by a $300 Sharper Image projector, to a couple of high efficiency “specialists” blatantly murdering targets in front of hapless witnesses, the authenticity here rings hollow.

Now you might be inclined to chime in, “Hey, it’s a comic. Relax.” You would be absolutely correct in that claim, as subscribing to the medium itself comes with the suspension of some disbelief. What is jarring to me is an inconsistency that leaves me wanting. Hawkins references illicit deep and dark web procurement networks, corporate malfeasance amongst the evangelical elite, and false flag domestic terror operations. These are topics of real world significance that I would want to see explored in more with a bit more sobriety. Hawkins takes steps to very abruptly address his inaugural narrative checklist: motivation, back- story, antagonist, supporting characters, et cetera. Actually pushing through the plot with so much world- building going on leaves the action insubstantial and unconvincing.

It is not generally in me to be negative about the products of other creators artistic endeavors. Creation requires a fair amount of courage, especially when it is polished up nice and presentable for commercial enterprise. To then openly submit it to the world for consumption and inevitable critique at the hands of those often biased; well, many would consider the endeavor pure folly. I am not going to take any definitive shots at Samaritan #1. The pacing and art choices really left me cold and uninspired, but my opinion does nothing to diminish the quality of the team’s work for their avid readers. If you’re a fan of previous works like Tithe, Think Tank, an Eden’s Fall, then I anticipate that you’ll be right at home with Samaritan. Sadly, this one is just not for me

Christian Davenport


One Comment

  1. Iron_Matt

    Hawkins is usually knocking it out of the park with his book so I’m going to have to give this one a shot. I wanted to know how she’d handle the death of that one character in Eden’s Fall

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