George Washington’s Dark Side Leads This Week’s Best New Comics

Senior Contributor

Dark Horse

America’s view of its own history tends towards the simplistic and blinkered. The founders, in particular, are really only started to be viewed as men, instead of political saints. Rebels: These Free And Independent States, with its sixth issue out today from Dark Horse, takes an approach to George Washington we don’t often see. Namely, it portrays him as a soldier who’s a arrogant, self-involved gloryhound who got a lot of people killed.

Washington as a human being is a lot more complicated than cherry trees and dollar bills, and that’s what Rebels is interested in exploring. Brian Wood’s script hits on a crucial event, namely that Washington helped touch off a war between two world powers mostly thanks to his own recklessness. The story sticks to the historical facts and lets us draw our own conclusions: That the facts are inconvenient for those who’d hold up Washington as a saint is none of the book’s concern.

The art team of Wilfredo Torres, Lauren Affe, and Matthew Taylor, do an excellent job, not least with the expressions and actions. Washington’s assault on French troops was diplomatically stupid, but it was also a thrilling, bold fight that made him a celebrity, and the book doesn’t shy away from that. The assault on the fort is a tense affair that’s kept realistic.

In the end, the goal here seems to be to get you to think critically about the Founders. And that’s worth doing as an American. It’s a fun comic that teaches a little history in the process as a bonus.


James Bond: Moneypenny, Dynamite

Moneypenny has been a fixture of the Bond series since the beginning, as the boss’ secretary, but only recently, with Naomie Harris taking over the role in Skyfall, has she really been more than comic relief. Dynamite’s comics have explored this, bringing out that Moneypenny’s real job is a mix of failsafe and bodyguard. She protects M, but if he’s about to be taken and she’s out of options, she’s going to blow his brains out. Jody Houser and Jacob Edgar get into just what it takes to be that person in this welcome one-shot.

Darkseid Special, DC Comics

DC’s tributes to Jack Kirby have been surprisingly lavish and extensive over the last few months, encouraging writers and artists to riff on his legacy in fascinating ways. Here Mark Evanier and Scott Kolins deliver a fascinating take on Darkseid who is, let’s face it, a pretty flat villain. How much dimension can you pack into an absolute tyrant who runs a planet called Apokolips with such charming locales as “Armagetto?” A lot, it turns out, in a story that leads to a surprising twist ending where we learn that Darkseid, for all his power, is weak in a way he can never fix.

Lady Killer 2 #5, Dark Horse

Joelle Jones wraps up her excellent story of a ’60s housewife hitwoman and her mother-in-law with a violent, funny issue that showcases Jones’ artistic skill while simultaneously giving the book a hard emotional punch. Jones is best known for her muscular, kinetic figures, but here she shows everything from a skill with architecture, with a gorgeous two-page spread showing an isometric cutaway of where the action take place, and a flowering of the wit she’s hidden in past issues. It’s a strong conclusion to a series that shows Jones as a talent to watch.

Generations: Hawkeye And Hawkeye, Marvel

The Generations one-shots have all been consistently good, but Kelly Thompson and Stefano Raffaele have the most fun out of them all, sending Kate back in time to meet Clint when he still wore the silly mask. Thompson has a gift with snappy dialogue and banter that she uses to full effect here, and Raffaele pays tribute to early Marvel’s hilariously bad costume design in a brisk caper of a book with a heartwarming ending.

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