Tuesday, August 6, 2013

REVIEW: Absolution Rubicon #2

Writer: Christos N. Gage
Artist: Daniel Gete
Review: William R. Davis Jr.

People tend to sift through their lives for definitive answers to unanswerable questions. Heroes like Superman resonate with readers so well because they are the embodiment of everything that humanity does right. As much as we would like to believe that we are not driven by greed, the allure of greatness; lustful thoughts and actions... the simple truth is that within us each of these inherent flaws exist. Read the news and nothing could be made more plain. The human condition is beyond comprehension after thousands of years of study. Psychologists, spiritualists, and philosophers have devoted their lives searching for the "solution". People tend to paint the troubled in our societal ranks with broad strokes, using words like "mental illness" or "Satan", condemning those that commit terrible acts, as if putting a label on them erases the darkness within ourselves, separating "us" from "them". But the biggest collective fear we have is knowing that there is no pill, no bullet, and no form of entertainment that can completely wash away the suppressed part of humanity that we do everything in our power to ignore. As much as I love books like Absolution Rubicon, it is a pretty formulaic "cop gone rogue" book that fails to address the complexities listed above. Rorschach had cigarettes put out on him by his prostitute mother. The Punisher had his family killed and was driven over the edge. And John Trask, this book's anti-hero, is a cop fed up with a flawed justice system whose ideological purity has been corrupted by the failings of humanity.

The heroes that become global icons are pillars of morality that represent truth, justice, and the American way (at least in America)... flawed but not too flawed. Books like Absolution Rubicon are appealing to me because they're not Superman. Absolution Rubicon is an expletive laced, ultra violent blood bath put on a comic book page. This book has a protagonist who draws a clear line between good and evil while simultaneously blurring that line, wrestling with the question of whether or not the ends justify the means. If you enjoyed The Boys, this book should fill the gap quite nicely.

John Trask is an "enhancile" fed up with the ineptness of the criminal justice system. Enhanciles (humans with superpowers) are rare, so he tends to be granted leniency at first when he becomes judge, jury, and executioner, taking justice into his own hands. This grace period ends though, and the hunter now instead becomes the hunted in this new series. Absolution Rubicon is a sequel to the six issue miniseries Absolution. Trades are available. Reading Absolution would be a good starting point, but it is not a necessary one. Any fan of Kick Ass, Crossed, or the above mentioned The Boys is going to love is book. What started long ago with The Punisher, is continuing with Absolution and Absolution Rubicon. Nothing much separates this title from anything that has been done in the past. Books like these can be comfort food to people who enjoy these themes, and Absolution Rubicon sated my palate in this way.

The art by Daniel Gete is great during the plethora of action packed scenes. Just as a visceral experience for any fan of gore, his style gets the job done here. While this is by no means a thought provoking book, I found it highly entertaining. My love for comics grew exponentially after being force fed classic literature by high handed, elitist professors who openly bashed the medium of sequential art because of books like Absolution Rubicon. Personally I like to be entertained and would rather discuss a thinly themed, highly entertaining book over a beer, than a canonical tome written by a dead white male over a glass of chardonnay, but that's just me. Absolution Rubicon is just good, entertaining comics. It's not WWE or monster trucks, but it's no Moby Dick either.

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