Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A God Somewhere

Written by John Arcudi
Art by Peter Snejbjerg

The last twenty years have seen a long string of books like this, where a Superman character is portrayed as being evil.  Without giving it too much thought, projects like Mark Waid's Irredeemable, and Peter Tomasi and Keith Champagne's The Mighty (which shares an artist with this book) spring to mind, and I know there are many more.

A God Somewhere fits in this milieu, but it also distinguishes itself by being incredibly well written, and by focusing as much on the incidental characters around the Superman figure as on him.

Eric and Hugh are brothers and very close friends.  They share a best friend, Sam, who has always had a thing for Hugh's wife Alma.  One day, something crashes into Eric's apartment building, destroying it, yet also granting Eric great abilities.  He springs into action to help rescue his neighbours, and is immediately exposed to the world as its first superhuman.

Eric is not very well-equipped to handle these abilities and the fame that they bring with them.  He starts to depend more and more on his Christianity, while also distancing himself from his friend and family.  Basically, he starts to lose it, and finds himself giving in to violent and dark urges.  Eventually, he is pursued by the Army, in a number of scenes that remind me more of The Incredible Hulk than of Superman.

I really like the way that John Arcudi explores Eric's reactions to his abilities, and how they affect his relationships.  Sam is the most interesting character in the book - he ends up working as a journalist covering the Army's hunt, but also feeling great empathy for his friend.

Peter Snejbjerg is one of the best artists working in comics today.  His figures are very expressive, and he excels at evoking emotion.  I really wish we would see his work more regularly.

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