You win some and you lose some. That’s a saying we hear all the time. It goes for anything in life: sports, job interviews, movies you choose to see, and books you decide to devote yourself to read. Unfortunately, Vertigo Comics’ “Right State” was a bad investment of my time. I hate writing reviews like this because I’m a big fan of both DC and Vertigo. Every book they publish can’t be a winner.
“Right State” tells the story of an ex-Special Forces war hero named Ted Akers. He’s been a respected conservative media expert since his retirement. The Secret Service discovers a plot by an extremist right-wing militia group to assassinate America’s second African American President. They recruit Akers to work himself into the group and help them foil the deadly plan of its leader.
It sounds like an intriguing concept, doesn’t it? You take a conservative, make him work for the administration he doesn’t agree with to avert a political catastrophe, and throw him into a den of wolves that quite possibly could brainwash him into believing their twisted doctrine. It should make an exciting read that keeps you turning pages until the end. However, constant political jawing and narrative gets in the way and there’s never any real energy in the story.
Andrea Mutti’s black and white art is striking and successfully captures writer Mat Johnson’s ideas. Mutti does what he can with what he’s given. His illustrations manage to make a hard read more tolerable.
“Right State” accomplishes one thing it’s meant to. The book portrays Republicans and conservatives as gun-toting wackos who are obviously racist and against any sort of radical change. Author Johnson makes it evident within the first few pages of the book where his Democratic allegiances lie. I’m all about freedom of speech and people having their own views, but “Right State” doesn’t have enough meat to it to compel an opposing reader to look beyond its political leanings.
This review will come off as a Conservative rant by an obvious Republican and I’m fine with that. I’m a fan of many movies and comics that don’t reflect my political stances. I love many of Oliver Stone’s films and enjoy the writings of Alan Moore, both of which adhere to beliefs I don’t necessarily agree with. Harrison Ford is one of my favorite actors and you don’t get any more liberal than him. My problem with “Right State” is it suffers from not accomplishing what it ultimately sets out to: being a smart thought-provoking political thriller.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
Before Watchmen: Rorschach Issue #1 Comic Book Review
Dial H Issue #1 Comic Book Review
‘Gone to Amerikay’ Graphic Novel Review