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American Way #1

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2006
By: Ray Tate



Writer: John Ridley
Artists: Georges Jeanty(p), Karl Story(i), Randy Mayor(c)
Publisher: DC

American Way presents a different kind of problem than JLA Classified. It does share with the latter the factor of really nice artwork. Georges Jeanty beautifully illustrates this super-hero deconstruction, but it's just not enough to make me fully recommend the book.

Ridley writes the Justice League better than Simone does. All of his heroes are analogues of the League, and you may be wondering why he simply did not make American Way an elseworlds novel in which the League operates in the fifties. The reasons become apparent as the story progresses.

American Way is not a story about the super-heroes. The super-heroes are immaterial to the plot, which can be reduced to and summarized as what if the government told a really big lie and each administration perpetuated that lie. To give away any more would give away the plot, and for Ridley, the plot is tantamount. Unfortunately not the characterization.

Whereas Keith Giffin's Planet Brigade featured new characters in addition to the League analogues, Ridley's American Way captures the League's personality and their characterization in characters that really deserved better. The narrator of the book is Some Guy, and he's the least interesting character. I'm in this for the super-heroes, not the thoughts of Some Guy.

Subjectively, the book does not deliver for what I'm looking. More plot-minded individuals may find the story of vaster interest, but there are some flaws in the story that while can be overlooked because of its overall strength may still annoy some readers.

The technology levels of the government border on the ridiculous. There is simply no way possible that the government of the period could perpetuate the lie in such a convincing manner. No way possible. I don't care how much money they threw at the problem, the technology was not there to suit their needs. The administration also risks innocent lives in perpetuating their lies, and if these characters really are super-heroes, then they would not, could not allow such a thing. A sufficiently corrupt administration may not possess a shred of conscience, but a super-hero would possess more than a shred. A normal empowered individual would object to such treatment.



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