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Review: The Superannuated Man #1

Teeming with gorgeous black and white illustrations, “The Superannuated Man” #1 is one hell of a teaser. This post apocalyptic comic takes place in an “unspecified future” in Blackwater, a seaside town that’s been overrun by mutant animals. As HE, a lone human among the insane creatures of Blackwater, lives a life of solitude in a makeshift houseboat, the mutants are facing their own unidentified threat.

the-superannuated-man-1WRITTEN BY: Ted McKeever
ART BY: Ted McKeever
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: June 4, 2013

REVIEW BY: Bree Odgen

“The Superannuated Man” is both haunting and cleverly witty. Our protagonist, HE, is exactly as the title of the comic suggests: an outdated concept. He is obsolete in this new future full of advanced mutant animals—like human-sized frogs and anthropological rhinoceroses. HE is a quirky hermit who lives on the water and snorkels around to scare the frog children who get too close. To the mutants, HE is a threat, an urban legend, a mythical beast.

Against the bleak speculative fiction backdrop of Blackwater, HE’s personality is light as a feather. Contrasted with the manically bizarre personalities of the mutants, he looks sane and well grounded—even when he carries on conversations with an inanimate man. McKeever has successfully and entertainingly made crazy look sane and insane look even crazier.

Both the beasts we explicitly see and the beasts that are merely hinted at are perfection alike. They’re so insane that they are almost funny, but more than anything they are disturbing as hell. This is just another testament of McKeever’s wild ability to round out characters like a rockstar.

My initial reaction after reading was a very firm, “The hell?” As I said, this is a teaser issue, a prologue of sorts. It’s set up to present us with a lot of questionable information without answering anything. But McKeever completely kills it regardless. It’s overwhelmingly clear that the creator, writer, and illustrator are one and the same. The written world and artistic world are woven together so tightly with the concept that although the material is confusing, it’s not confusing in a negative sense. It’s fantastically chaotic. I appreciate the fact that McKeever trusts his readers to follow along with his bold storytelling.

McKeever accomplishes something brilliant in this first issue that’s so rarely done. He really lets the art tell the story. There is a bold lack of written narrative yet the plot is heavy and detailed, impeccably constructed through the exhaustive images. “The Superannuated Man” is off to a superb start. The possibilities of this comic are endless. While the dystopian elements haunt, the fantasy elements entertain on a grand scale.



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