Mike Cavallaro

The Life and Times of Savior 28 5 (August 2009)

660442.jpgLooks like DeMatteis has read some Alan Moore, doesn’t it?

In this issue, DeMatteis doesn’t just pull it off, he also reveals an unreliable narrator in Dennis, who’s apparently a psychotic anti-peacenik and has been for years. It adds some layers to him, since he’s really the least fleshed out character. He’s been too busy telling the reader what he thinks about Savior 28 to tell him or her anything about himself.

But some things come through the cracks, especially at the end. He becomes a hurt child.

Having such a dynamic finale, however, seems a wee contrived, since it leaves the series with a better memory than it earned throughout. All of the politics, in the end, were a McGuffin. It’s something else all of a sudden (not to mention the change of POV in the final pages).

It’s a success, but a machinated one, rather than organic.

B+ 

CREDITS

Day Of Drums; writer, J.M. DeMatteis; artist, Mike Cavallaro; colorist, Andrew Covalt; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 4 (July 2009)

650393.jpgYou know the all-action issue, where it’s just a fight scene dragged out to twenty-four story pages? This issue of Savior 28 is a mostly-torture issue. I can’t remember much of what happens except the narrator–Dennis, the government stooge–and Savior 28 finally talk. But there’s the whole backstory thing still going on, with more of Savior 28’s history.

DeMatteis likes doing this revisionist look at superheroes–he did it with Hero Squared, only comedically–but the guy’s not a hack, he’s not piggy-backing on other people’s work (with Savior 28 being a Superman and Captain America amalgam), he’s commenting on the whole superhero comic book medium. These books are a lot like Grant Morrison trying to incorporate all elements of Batman’s history, or Superman’s, into the modern version. Except Savior 28 readers aren’t going to be mainstream readers.

I hope DeMatteis finishes well.

B 

CREDITS

Enemy Combatants; writer, J.M. DeMatteis; artist, Mike Cavallaro; colorist, Andrew Covalt; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 3 (June 2009)

650392.jpgIt does seem a little like the comic everyone wants to write is the one where Superman goes batshit crazy and flips out. Mark Waid’s doing it now, DC kind of did it with Superboy, I can’t think of a Marvel example, but maybe the Sentry did it during “Civil War,” but doesn’t anyone remember Superman III? Savior 28 is really flashy, but it’s more “revisionist” than a Frank Miller book. It’s a depressingly stark look at superheroes; it’s a tad much.

While it’s a good book and I can’t wait to see what DeMatteis does in the final two issues, all this “grown-up” handling of superheroes sucks the wonderment out of the genre. Psychoanalyzing their hangups, et cetera, et cetera, it’s a whole new genre on its own.

But who wants only depressing, stark superhero books? Aren’t they still escapist entertainment?

(Sorry for not talking about this issue).

B- 

CREDITS

The Whole World is Watching; writer, J.M. DeMatteis; artist, Mike Cavallaro; colorist, Andrew Covalt; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 2 (May 2009)

prv2536_cov.jpgYeah, no, DeMatteis isn’t backing down. He’s got Dick Cheney killing Captain America here or Superman (or, what is it, Super-Soldier). It’s stunning, especially given how DeMatteis has got his ultra-liberal heroine (who’s been off panel so far, at least in a speaking role) and his narrator slash murderer slash Cheney flunky commenting on her not giving anyone slightly conservative any consideration (do they really deserve any?).

Obviously, by making the neo-cons the supervillains, DeMatteis is assuring no bigger publisher is going to pick this one up (I can’t believe IDW did, do they think they’re the new Avatar or something?) and, well, it’s a crazy mix. I mean, he’s got Savior 28 breaking up Secret Wars to tell everyone involved they need to stop being so full of shit.

It’s a hell of a comic. Not sure about it dramatically, but a hell of a comic.

B+ 

CREDITS

To Be or Not to Be; writer, J.M. DeMatteis; artist, Mike Cavallaro; colorist, Andrew Covalt; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 1 (March 2009)

650390.jpgWell, yeah, I didn’t see that ending coming.

Usually 9/11 shows up as a gut shot in comics–Ex Machina, Morales’s awesome Captain America run, Conway’s recent Animal Man–but DeMatteis brings it out here front and center. I have no idea where he’s going with it but it certainly seems a heck of a lot more thoughtful than some guy throwing a soda can at Spider-Man or whatever Marvel did.

Savior 28 is a strange book–Cavallaro’s style, particularly when he’s doing the drunken, downtrodden hero, is an odd fit. Cavallaro, broadly, reminds of Kirby or Infantino, which makes Savior 28 a Silver Age visualization of a very modern story.

It’s also got no laughs in it.

DeMatteis is good at laughs (he’s also good at other stuff, but laughs were his “strong suit”) and it’s a real departure from what I was expecting.

It’s very interesting.

B+ 

CREDITS

A Kind of Eulogy; writer, J.M. DeMatteis; artist, Mike Cavallaro; colorist, Andrew Covalt; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editors, Scott Dunbier and Chris Ryall; publisher, IDW Publishing.

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