The strangest new title coming out this week is a maxi-series called Prez. It’s based off an old DC concept from way back in the day and features the first teenaged President of the United States, Beth Ross. As the solicit says: “… The real question isn’t whether she’s ready for politics – it’s whether politics is ready for her.”
Is it good?
Prez #1 (DC Comics)
In 2036, America is in the shady state you might imagine it would be considering the way things are going today: The rich are richer; morals have loosened even more; online celebrity status, entertainment shows, and social trends are king and what people care about the most; politics are more inclusive and full of nepotism than ever and big business seems to run things from the shadows. With a new election coming up and with expected voter turnout at an all-time low, things are only expected to get worse… unless someone unwillingly steps up to the plate!
I read the Sneak Peek last month when it came out and I wasn’t all that impressed. It seemed interesting, but the writing was so-so and the artwork wasn’t all that great. I was a bit unsure going into this comic, though still curious and hopeful. Now that I’ve had a chance to read it, though — wow; this was fantastic and so much fun. Prez #1 was easily one of the most pleasantly surprising comics that DC has put out this month and looks to have a bright future (as long as it gets to release every issue of its run) for many reasons.
The future of politics, ladies and gentlemen.
Prez #1 does a fine job of laying down all the right groundwork. It presents a very likeable and sympathetic character with our lead, Beth; she’s very relatable with the position she’s in with her job and how she reacts to most things around her. Then you end up feeling a lot for the character with the revelation about her dad and some of the struggles she has to go through to try and help him. She gets about a third of the book dedicated to her and while I would have liked to have seen even more, the rest of the comic is just as important. That’s where we get all of the setup and establishment for what the current state of America is with its politics, culture, and more.
That’s also where the comic shines the most, by showing how bizarre and crazy things have gotten; it’s a clever, satirical take on the current state of affairs with the government, the growing social media presence and Internet celebrities, and other questionable behavior by today’s populace taken to extremes. The political debates, how big people can become due to trending, and outrageous behavior exhibited by normal to powerful people is so overblown and crazy at points that it becomes downright hilarious. Probably the biggest and most fun example of this is the debate over the new Food Stamp Reform Act as one of the senators on Fox News makes points about moochers and other “leeches of the system” to promote his solution of a Taco Drone. The only downside with this whole first issue’s story is that it really doesn’t get underway. Only at the very end does Beth actually end up getting pulled into politics and we don’t get much of a reaction from her.
Well naturally this is the ONLY solution.
The writing by Mark Russell is great. The dialogue is solid, providing plenty of memorable lines and the humor is spot on with its wit, timing, and satire (sometimes a bit on the nose, but also at times very clever). The only real problems that can be had with the writing or even the story is the fact that comic isn’t really for everyone. While definitely aimed for a younger audience given its main character, it’s pretty heavy on the politics (and political satire) and the media. It’s not something that hurts the quality of the comic, but may hurt its chances at catching on.
The artwork is by Ben Caldwell and he does a terrific job here. He also drew the sneak peek last month and it feels like night and day when comparing that preview with this issue. The artwork feels so much more refined and clear, while the sneak peek felt messy and rushed at points. The characters look great; they’re well detailed, unique looking and full of expression. The layouts and panels flow nicely and are easy to follow as well. Add in some terrific colors from Jeremy Lawson and the artwork was just on fire this outing. I really hope this art team can keep it up for the rest of the run.
Is It Good?
Prez #1 was a great surprise. It features a well-developed main character and funny (and almost sad) take on the future America, while also delivering some solid writing and artwork. This is probably one of the most unique and out there titles DC is going to be offering this month and honestly, you shouldn’t miss out.