This 6-issue miniseries, published by DC in the late 1980’s is something of a forgotten gem.
The dystopian near future, setting is perhaps broadly familiar, but with mafia style gangs in charge and a 30’s look to the guns, clothes and cars , the book has a certain timeless quality that helps to keep it relevant.
The story is told in a complex and fragmentary fashion, exploring events in three main timeframes.
The events are narrated by the grandson of Charlie Finnegan, and his family’s story is entwined around that of the main character, Vito Skreemer, and gives some context to life for the little man in the “age of the Giants”.
The main story is ostensibly that of the rise and fall of a criminal from street-punk to the biggest gangland ‘President’ of them all. In this way it mirrors movies like Scarface but the themes explored are more than the normal concerns about power and its ability to corrupt. The real concern is over the power of destiny. If a man can see the future, can he exercise free will and even if he could, would he want to?
The artistic tone, from the crumbling tenements of the nobodies to the gleaming palaces of the gang lords is well struck and the combination of Ewins and Dillon gives the art a slightly twisted and edgy look that Dillon’s normally crisp lines wouldn’t have on their own. All in all it works very well and in fact if anything I think I appreciate this book more now than I did when I first read it in 1989.
The good news is that it is still in print, so if you don’t already own a copy go and buy it.
Or add it to your Christmas list…