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Cla$$war: The Collected Edition

Posted: Wednesday, November 25, 2009
By: Andre Lamar

Rob Williams
Trevor Hairsine & Travel Foreman
Com.x
In Cla$$war, a superhero with the codename "American" feels betrayed by his country and seeks to expose the government that created him. After realizing he was merely a tool of destruction for the government’s evil agenda, American goes AWOL from Enola Gay--a team of superheroes created by the government and which he leads. However, the President wants to put an end to American and sends Enola Gay after the hero.

It’s easy to buy into an author’s world when his script appears convincing. Rob Williams takes advantage of this tendency and ushers in his brilliance by allowing his characters’ actions to represent them rather than their dialogue. For instance, the members of Enola Gay each live up to their super-powered names.

American is the patriotic archetype who seems to be the only member of the group with a conscience. He fights for what he believes in, and his integrity reflects why he’s the group leader. The hothead, Burner, isn’t afraid to set a man or woman on fire with his fire-based powers. Additionally, the baldheaded female telepath, Confusion, can play mind games with her victims to the point where they may commit suicide--which was the case when Williams narrated a flashback of the Enola team, as they traveled to Iraq to take on Iraqi soldiers.

The Iraqis were no match for the super-powered crew and were laid to waste. For the first time, Confusion put her ability to use and forced a portion of the soldiers to blow their own brains out. Although the concept of racism is taboo in America, Rob Williams cleverly uses Burner to utter racial slurs that real American soldiers may have felt at one time or another concerning the Iraqi people with, “Born in the USA. I was . . . sing with me towel heads. . . .”

Yet, the author tugs on the hearts of the reader by reminding us of the humanity we each share, no matter if we’re friend or foe. Aghast by the body count of these desert men, Confusion read the thoughts of one of them and remarked, “Before he died, he wanted to see his wife and his baby daughter. He missed them. He wanted to see them one last time.”

From beginning to end, this adventurous script never misses a beat and the ending may be one of the best I’ve ever read. Upon reaching the end of Cla$$war, it will feel as if the air has been knocked out of you. Yes, Rob Williams's conclusion is that witty and powerful.

Trevor Hairsine and Travel Foreman labor their fingers to the bone with their impressive visuals. These guys convey realistic character designs and fluid motions that allow Cla$$war to appear as if it were a motion picture.

I’m still unnerved by the image of Heavyweight’s broken jaw, in which his chin hung down to his shoulder and blood spewed from his mouth. Despite the unsteadiness that I feel when I see this visual--and others like it in the book--I respect the artists since they craft every panel with purpose.

Heavyweight’s outstretched jaw is gruesome, yet relevant to the story--and colorist Len O’Grady provides the icing on the cake with effective coloring and superb visual effects.

This well written and illustrated story has very few errors. However, there were a few problems that stood out. First of all, I’m curious why American cuts his hair a few times throughout the story. There’s no explanation for this action, and it puzzles me since heroes don’t alter their appearance that much in a story arc. Second, why didn’t the remaining members of Enola Gay have a problem being pawns of the government?

Without a doubt, Cla$$war is one of the greatest comics I’ve ever come across. An amazing script and compelling graphics have me hooked. The comic book community truly owes it to themselves to pick up this title.



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