SW Comics Recommendation: PREZ, Vol. 1: Corndog in Chief

 Prez volume 1

Prez – Vol. 1: Corndog in Chief

  • Writer: Mark Russell
  • Artist: Ben Caldwell , Mark Morales
  • Published by: DC Comics
  • Pages: 161, Publish Date: February 9 2016, Age Rating: 12+
  • Notes: Collects 1-6 of the monthly series started in 2015, and seemingly discontinued. Available in print and DC digital apps


“America’s first teenaged president is on the job in this contemporary twist on a DC classic! Oregon teen Beth Ross has just been elected President of the United States of America. Age restrictions were abolished when corporations gained the right to run for office and voting booths have been replaced by Twitter, making just about anyone eligible for the nation’s top job, including the viral-video-famous Corndog Girl! Now the eyes of the nation are on Beth. But in a world so out of control that the poor are willing to shoot themselves on TV for a chance at a better life, will even the new president have the power needed to overthrow the nation’s true leaders-Boss Smiley and his corporate shadow government?

Writer Mark Russell (God Is Disappointed in You) teams with artists Ben Caldwell (JUSTICE LEAGUE BEYOND) and Mark Morales (X-Force, Secret Invasion) to revive and reinvent a classic! Collects PREZ #1-6 and SNEAK PEEK: PREZ #1.”

Personal Thoughts (minor spoilers):

There is a lacking of something I from today’s comics storytelling, missing from the overall scope of costumed melodramas, laser guided dystopias, rebirthings, cosmic angst, and the usual civil disagreements. I don’t see much satire, hitting hard on familiar modern issues without pandering to any particular political mindset. I feel a popular mindset upon those who dare try, tend to focus upon the obvious disturbances of dystopia building, whether it’s privacy or the unending reach of the data-mugging social networkings.

But, along comes this new (and I think cancelled too soon) comic series based on an obscure short-lived series from the 1970s, Prez. The new series stands alone with little to do with the original other than the premise of a teenager president. The overall setting nor is a somewhat mix of the present, the coming present, and the far more reaching (yet less far-fetching with the absurdity of today’s headlines) style of the movie Idiocracy.  Prez invokes thought, while holding a fun house mirror to our current American views and changing ways of life. Such thought is not necessarily too serious or overlay pretentious; just brilliant in the execution that brings the reader into a strange new world of border guarding mechs and holographic politicians.

The premise of Prez one would assume is simple for the simple-minded, probably dumbed down it was for a movie, or passed off as a junior reader book. Beth Ross is a sort of victim of chance as her accidental online fame on Twitter, brought upon by a fast food accident. While raising money on a Kickstarterish health care program to her suffering grandfather, she finds more fame through and Anonymous 4-chanish prank to propel her into the Oval Office candidacy. As the title destined, Beth is eventually sworn in as Commander-in-Chief. But with that great power, comes great influence from private interests and sinister forces.

Beth Ross is a bit of conundrum in modern storytelling where the main character is not as prime as we would be lead to believe. Like our real presidents, we ponder just what they can change, with the grip on everything around her and then reaching out to her. Her very appearance is a sort of every-person, with a grasp on her own individuality and natural compassion for family and friends. She treats new problems with her own logic and fairness. It is perhaps through the reader’s sense of what’s wrong with her world and ours, is there a connection to her actions and reactions and if they truly can overcome the overreaching process. We can only wish, for there are some consequential developments in her decisions.

Photo Jul 16, 1 58 32 PM

The self-contained world of Prez is one with lunacy and far-fetching absurdity, or is it? Food delivery drones, health-care driven sickstarters, calculated pop-culture, war-machine driven entertainment, game-show immigration, and faceless industrial heads hidden behind images looking to graft their twisted culture and advert imagery unto us. Such things have elements of familiarity in our world, as all great satire should.

The trade paperback is a nice package of the first six issues, the sneak peek prologue story, and some extra goodies at the end providing a little insight and commentary. The art is well defined, with colors that pop-enough to tell the story. I hope there for a continuation someday, though more doubtful as time passes (sigh). Otherwise, still a worthwhile purchase for the content so far.

– Orion T

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