Writer: Christopher Long
Artist(s): Chee, Joel Seguin (c)
Publisher: Image Comics
EXCLAMATION: “I am so going to read this again!”
EXPLANATION: Set in and around a foster home, Ward of the State, as the name suggests, is the story about a bunch of ‘In the System’ kids. Living with their foster mother and her (seemingly) mentally challenged son, Monroe, the children - Dravis Trucker, Carrie Evans, Clifton Hernandez, Harkim Lomu and Devon Harris - are just like any other children their age, except for one small difference. They are all killers for hire. Trained by their foster mama, they carry out hits (mostly for the mob). After all who would suspect a child, even a teenager? Problems arise when first one and then a second of their group is found murdered in/around the house. What is bizarre is that each of the two dead teens was killed in their own ‘trademark’ method. By the time the story ends two more people die, one of them the killer who, as revealed, is someone very close.
EXAMINATION (Story): Let’s see, positive or negative, which I should deal with first. Hmm…how about the negative? There isn’t all that much of it. The biggest sore point I have with Ward of the State is that its ending feels rushed and not quite up to the rest of the story. Seeing as what it’s supposed to bring for the ‘survivors’ the mood is expected. The rushed feeling, although in keeping with the fast pace of the story, doesn’t have the same effect. The ‘big’ reveal is there (and I for one didn’t see it coming), but not enough time is given for its impact to be felt completely and sink in. Also, the mobster subplot does feel like a loose thread. If there is a sequel to this mini I hope to see more of Dirty Mike and his Scuttlebutts. However, it could also be me reading too much into it and instead of being a dedicated plot, Mike could just be another character who comes in, plays his part and bows out.
Except for the rather ‘unorthodox’ setting for the kids just about everything about WotS is, well, rather normal. This is a good thing for by ‘normal’ I mean it could very well be a real life situation. From the fellow from Child Services to the budding relationship between Travis and Carrie to Dirty Mike, there is an (almost) total absence of any over-the-top events to ruin the ‘suspension of disbelief’.
One last thing that I would like to see dealt with in more detail, if and when there is a sequel, is Travis’ anger issues. Sure, his outburst towards Mike gives a glimpse but not enough. Maybe, if instead of three this was a four issue mini, this and my previous point (about Mike) could have been fleshed out better. However, that might have led to some ‘dragging out’ of the plot and thus diluted the overall effect.
EXAMINATION (Art): The artwork is quite well suited to the story. It too, as with the story has a ‘real life’ feel to it. Still, I (personally) could have done without the large expanses of black and (in places) the rather subdued coloring. I understand it is supposed to establish the mood of the story and it does so quite well, but come on, not matter what the whether there is no way the early-to-mid morning sky is going to be orange.
PROCLAMATION: Two thumbs and a pinkie way up!!
Best line of the story – “Once you go FAT, you’ll never go back.”
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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