DC Comics has been playing it safe lately. This time seems to be over. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman all have had radical changes. And there’s one book flying under the radar that is satire at its finest. That book is Prez.
It’s the future. In 2036, elections are held via Twitter and politics is more about who owes who a favour and promises for things like two Nasas in exchange for a vote. This is the world Beth Ross lives in. She’s 19 years old and goes viral due to a silly and totally safe for work video of her and a corndog which somehow lands her in the race for presidency.
Prez is an evil book. It’s funny because it’s a future that isn’t grimdark but mostly plausible, if today went completely stupid and reveled in the political idiocies we hear out of some candidates and in some corners of the Internet. It’s absurd, but nobody can deny that Twitter does shape opinions and might influence a vote. So why not have a viral candidate?
But Prez doesn’t stop there. Beth Ross’ world, written by Mark Russell, is filled with the almost insane. Her father is in the hospital and there’s holographic billboards advertising an ad free stay if fifty dollars are deposted now. Her father is attended by Carl, the End-of-Life Bear who offers him Marijuana and wants to rate him in the end.
Basically, Prez has an edge. It’s not full of blood and gore, but wit and satire. It is quite different from what readers are used to when something is being called edgy, a term that was perhaps irreparably broken with the edgy comics of the 1990s where it equaled blood, gore and slightly censored nudity.
Bright and Colourful Yet Very Bleak
The art by Ben Caldwell is light and cartoony. There are bright colours everywhere and not a shadow is in sight. In a way, it almost feels plasticky, which might as well be intentional, as actual values don’t seem to count for much in the world of Prez. There are overly cute things, there are things that are so sickeningly geared towards purchase and the distraction from the fact that there’s a huge problem with the system – Pharmaduke the medical dog is an example – and there are things that are just plain funny.
All in all, Prez #2 is a strong second issue to a first issue that set the bar high. Neither Mark Russell nor Ben Caldwell have lost steam and they don’t seem to be held back by the publisher. It’s very much in the style of comic books like Transmetropolitan where everything has been amped up to eleven in order to create a very bleak future that is based on today, but everything went wrong. So go pick it up!