Writer: Clifford Meth
Artist: Rufus Dayglo
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Snaked might be a first for U.S. comics, in that it's a tale of political horror. Unless Marvel did an adaptation of Omen III during their rampant licence-whoring in the 80's, I can't think of another example of this underused crossover genre.
In a framing sequence with more than a hint of Lovecraft to it, we're introduced to Morganstern, who tells us, via a session with his therapist, a little bit about an old colleague named Bill Timmons. A series of anachronistic flashbacks then explores various aspects of Timmons' life, ranging from working at the offices of a post-Presidential Bill and Hillary Clinton, to fighting for his life in jail. The structure is used well, making good use of the flashbacks to create a textured narrative from a fairly straightforward series of events, but the characters are a bit fuzzy and undefined, and clichés are used a little too liberally for my liking. There's a prison rape scene exactly like a hundred others from a hundred prison movies, for example, and there are hints that the "monster" at the heart of the story is the result of a generic secret project created by a generic shadowy government agency. As a result, the only real pull for me is in seeing how and why the political half of this title meshes with the supernatural horror segments; even so, I can't help but feel that the creators are relying too much on that one link to carry the book.
I've previously enjoyed the work of Rufus Dayglo in 2000AD, and he's a good fit here. His characters are expressive and exaggerated at the right moments, and his washed out colours capture the eerie feel of the story very well. That said, it's not perfect, and the multiple flashback story structure does highlight something of a missed opportunity in the art; Dayglo presents everything in more or less the same fashion, where he could have done the prison-set flashbacks in one way, the Clinton office scenes in another, the modern-day bits in yet another, and so on. It doesn't make the comic significantly more difficult to follow, and it's certainly not a bad creative choice, but it does make things a bit less interesting when you consider the visual potential inherent in the story structure, and Dayglo's obvious flexibility as an artist.
Snaked is a truly fascinating comic. It's all very disjointed and the various threads are so very different in tone and genre, and yet it's clear that the producers have a definite plan in mind. I'm certainly very interested in seeing how everything is connected, but there's just enough choppiness in the art and writing that I'm also concerned that the creative team won't be able to pull off the big plan when all is said and done.
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