So, I’m alive.
It’s been a rough few weeks for your old pal Uncle Mac. I got a second dance with COVID, followed by viral pancreatitis, followed by food poisoning, followed by a nasty splinter in my foot.
Sufficient to say, it’s been a rough few weeks.
But with most of those issues in the rearview mirror, and a new slew of indie comics hitting the shelves in 2023, I’m back and ready to go.
And what better way to celebrate my glorious return than with a good old fashioned American Apocalypse book!?
This week I’ll be looking at Almighty #1 from Image Comics, the latest in a series of American Apocalypse stories that have recently come out from this publisher.
Is it a worthy addition to this pantheon? Does it hold a mirror up to the US and make us question everything? Will it keep you up at night asking what you can do to prevent this from happening? Well let’s dig in together and find out!
Here’s the blurb:
THE WARNING writer/artist EDWARD LAROCHE returns to comics with a five-issue epic! Max Max: Fury Road-style action combines with the mutated horror of Annihilation in this original sci-fi/fantasy epic for mature readers.
The year is 2098 in a Third World America ravaged by economic collapse anarcho-warfare and a mysterious environmental disaster contained behind a massive wall. A girl has been abducted and a killer has been hired to find her and bring her home.
The adventure begins in a spectacular DOUBLE-LENGTH FIRST ISSUE with thirty-eight pages of story and no ads
Right off the bat I want to make sure I’m clear on what the difference is between an American Apocalypse and an apocalypse set in America.
An American Apocalypse story is one in which our own hubris, greed, stupidity, or nationalism destroys us as a nation and a people, whereas an apocalypse set in America is just, well, an apocalypse set in America.
Examples of American apocalypse stories would be films like Escape from New York, and comics like Undiscovered Country. Stories like The Walking Dead and Y the Last Man are set predominantly in America, but the apocalypse isn’t really caused by anything particularly American in nature.
It’s sometimes a fine line to explain, but at the end of the day the important thing is to understand what specifically the author is attempting to say with their end of the world story. Do they want us to look at ourselves to see what we can change to prevent such a world from happening, or do they instead want us to think about how we would deal with the same situation and just chose a location their audience would be most familiar with?
Almighty has not made it 100% clear on what it wants to be in that regard yet, but I feel it is more leaning towards American Apocalypse than anything else. Yes, it has heavy Mad Max vibes to it, but there are also hints that something deeper is going on with this story. It’s set in the not too distant future, one that people today still have a chance to live to see. Usually the closer we are to the dystopia, the more the author wants to use it as a warning of things on the horizon.
I mean, face it, if a story is set 1000 years in the future it’s hard to get your audience worked up about how we need to do something now, while a story set a few dozen years in the future give much more of a sense of urgency to do something now to prevent it from happening.
Beyond the mystery of the disaster that befell this world, in Almighty there seems to be a pretty solid protect-the-girl-from-the-baddies plot at play. The character designs are solid and the action is fun. There’s also a lot of mystery and tension at work here as we try to figure out who all of these characters are and how they know each other. There is definitely more going on here that can be seen on the surface, and with a tight 5 issue run this is going to be a fast, fun read you’re going to want to check out.
Side note: I love a 5 issue mini. You usually get a nice, tight story with minimal commitment. That’s what the world needs more of right now.
It’s also nice to see a single author/ artist at work on a book; in this case, it’s Edward Laroche. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing teams out there that produce amazing books, but there is always a beautiful purity to books where a single person is guiding everything. Perhaps it’s my Manga love showing through, but I do also wish we’d see more books like that in the future too.
A fun, action-packed romp through a destroyed American wasteland? What better way to kick off 2023? I’ll be reading Almighty from start to finish and I definitely think you should too!
Until next time do as I say and not as I do, and Stay Safe!