Issue: American Terror: Confessions of a Human Smart Bomb Volume 1
Release Date: June 2009
Writers: Jeff McComsey & James Cooper
Artist: Jeff McComsey
Letters: Jeff McComsey
Publisher: Alterna Comics
When I first began reading American Terror, I wasn’t quite sure that I was going to enjoy it. It’s one of those stories that starts in the middle (or possibly the end — I’m still not quite sure on that) and fills in as it goes along. Some stories can pull this off, others can’t. Fortunately, American Terror is one of the former. Although by the end of the first volume the entire story has not been filled in, there is enough there to keep me wanting to read more.
Victor Sheppard is an old man in the year 2041. Sometime in his past, at a time close to our own, he was a soldier in the War of the Third World. Exactly what happened in that war is presumably what we will find out in future volumes of the series, but the name, plus that fact that Sheppard claims the Third World no longer exists, seem to indicate something rather ominous for the poor. The one thing that is clear is that Sheppard and others started the war without government support. And virtually no one alive remembers why it started.
The story itself is told mostly in flashbacks, with several stories interwoven together: Sheppard going to the funeral of a fellow soldier, Sheppard’s flashbacks to his time as a soldier as well as his time in the War of the Third World, and also the story of Homer Hegal, the man who recruits Sheppard. It’s an interesting technique that I wasn’t certain about, but realized upon reflection that it worked quite well. By setting it up this way, the authors are better able to show us what happened without just infodumping on us. And it also keeps us in suspense, making us wonder about what else is going on.
I’m not quite sure how to describe the artwork. Because I am used to reading a lot of comics from big name publishers, it took some getting used to the simpler drawings in this. I’m not sure if this makes sense for drawings, but the artwork feels less “produced” than big name publishing. That’s not to say the artwork isn’t good — it is. It’s just different from what I normally read.
I’m intrigued by the whole concept of the series and curious to know where it’s going. There are hints at social commentary about our current war on terror, but time will tell what exactly it will be. I know I plan to read more to find out.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars