- Series: Prez
- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: DC Comics (February 9, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1401259790
- ISBN-13: 978-1401259792
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.3 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #663,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Prez Vol. 1 Paperback – February 9, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—The future of the United States is here, and it is a mess. After corporations are granted the right to vote, voting age is abolished. Now, younger citizens cast ballots through Twitter and campaigning occurs via vlogs; the Facebook like functions as political approval ratings; and hospitals advertise products to patients on their sickbeds. The presidential election is a circus, with corporations bribing politicians left and right. It's a recipe for disaster—and 19-year-old Beth Ross, aka YouTube celebrity Corndog Girl, ends up accidentally elected president of the United States. Beth, a levelheaded girl with a punk-rock haircut and a quick wit, establishes an inner cabinet of educated everymen and selects an older, established vice president to guide her. Beth's first course of action? To end the country's global surveillance program and find a cure for the cat flu that's ravaging the population. Both are noble goals, but they put her directly at odds with the corporations. This satire of American culture is outright scathing. It pulls no punches in its sociopolitical commentary. Caldwell uses vivid colors and pointed, occasionally anime-influenced line work, giving it more similarities with The Unbeatable Squirrel-Girl than with the muscular DC comics heroes. VERDICT Recommended for teens who are tired of the superhero craze but can appreciate a no-holds-barred spoof of the world around them.—Matisse Mozer, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
"Very sharp political commentary." - Mike Roe from Off-Ramp on National Public Radio
“It’s just perfect. It’s better than perfect; it’s now. What Russell and Caldwell have created is the impossible, unlikely, and interminable now; the world as it is, hyperrealized in the kind of tomorrow we dare not believe, yet secretly fear will come.” – PopMatters
“Prez has become a standout title with its sharp political commentary, bold sense of humor, and intricate world building in both the writing and art. “–A.V. Club/The Onion
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In this collection of a six-issue DC Comics miniseries which writer Mark Russell originally intended as a 12-issue maxiseries (hence the cliffhanger ending), it takes teenager and viral video star Beth Ross the equivalent of two issues to be elected America's first teen president via Twitter. Russell ties the plight of Tina, a "war beast" robot who flees the army in despair over the people she's killed to work for Ross, into Ross' own tale abruptly at story's end (or abrupt halt, as the case may be). And Beth scores her initial political win over the corporate shadow government which really controls America in just one page.
So, one may ask, why am I awarding "Prez Vol. 1: Corndog-in-Chief" five stars?
I think Russell is much less interested in plot mechanics than he is in creating an America that will be coming if we're not careful. Russell employs the same method the creators of the classic TV series "Get Smart" used to satirize James Bond: "Do what they did except stretch it half an inch," co-creator Mel Brooks said.
Russell stretches our present day and creates a world where people shoot themselves on television "reality" shows in hopes of a better life. A world where vacuous news anchors more concerned with their appearance provide any crank who can string sentences together a platform, no matter how radical their beliefs may be. A world saddled with a "caring" healthcare system (in the person of recurring character "Carl, the End-of-Life Bear") that doesn't care at all. A world where corrupt corporate executives can copyright the world's DNA as a bargaining chip in order to create a life-saving vaccine for a "cat flu" that's ravaging the nation. (Beth, in turn, patents the executives' own DNA to gain the upper hand on them.) A world where President Ross is protected by a nuclear warhead phone app.
In brief, the world of "Prez" is a bleak, terrifying place I would hope no one wants to live in. It's intended as satire, but Russell's world hit too close to the here and now for me to do anything more than chuckle occasionally-and nervously.
Lightening the dystopian mood Russell creates is Ben Caldwell's artwork, which for me hits the sweet spot between illustration and cartooning that is best left to newspaper political cartoonists. And he draws a teenage girl who actually looks like a teenage girl (Supergirl, by contrast, is supposed to be a teenager but usually looks like a young adult woman) and avoids the trap of sexualizing her that too many of today's artists fall into. I'd be happy to see Caldwell drive the pencil on another DC title.
"Prez" might have worked better for DC as a Vertigo title, save for the company's push to keep Vertigo exclusively for creator-owned properties. (This "Prez" is a reboot of a short-lived early 70s series co-created by writer Joe Simon and artist Jerry Grandenetti.)
Whether or not "Prez Vol. 1: Corndog-in-Chief" works as satire is an exercise best left to individual readers. For me, it worked as a chilling cautionary fable of a road America ought not to take.
However, Love the new Prez! When they talk about an unliked prez staying alive by choosing an even more disliked VP....damn.