If you’ll all recall, there was a comic series that came out a couple years ago by the name of Maestros. It was an absurdly massive story with a thirst for uncomfortable yet amusing irreverence and gore akin to Avatar comics. Maestros was created by Steve Kroce, and he’s back at it again with Post Americana.
Basically, in the not-too-distant future or in an alternate reality, America is divided into two main areas. The wealthy 1%-ers have holed up in something called The Bubble where they hoard resources in preparation to annihilate the surface. Speaking of which, the surface of America is filled with cannibals and buildings shaped like fast food.
So, obviously, this isn’t a book predicated on subtlety. But that’s pretty darn acceptable for most of this, because not only can the goofy dialogue come across genuinely funny at times, but more importantly, Post Americana is brimming with amusingly gnarly details. Not unlike The Force Awakens, the book begins with two rebellious guys infiltrating a fascist meeting and escaping, only to crash in the midst of cannibals. Then they’re attacked by mutant chickens and an uneasy alliance is made with a mysterious, gun-toting chick named Carolyn.
The script isn’t perfect. Our lead hero, boasting the exotic name of Mike, is boring, there’s choking amounts of exposition (as interesting as the world building is) and this isn’t an exceptionally original story, especially in today’s political landscape.
With a lesser artist, Post Americana would crumble due to the script’s problems. But Steve Stroke’s M.O. is giving us a megaton of details no matter how large or small the panels, which mostly overpowers the shortcomings of the script by heaping on spectacle.
Epic tableaus visualizing a stomach-churning dystopian America are given the same attention as close-ups rendering the scabby, infected faces of surface dwellers. The pages flow not only clearly, but masterfully.
A fight between the villainous F.F. (The “Flying F*ck” in case you were wondering) and Carolyn ends one page with their forms spiraling toward the right edge of the page, the fiery smoke trails of F.F.’s jetpack leading our eyes beautifully. Then, on the next page, their entwined bodies, engulfed in smoke and debris, crash into the upper left, tearing across the page as they mulch the ground. It’s badass and technically fantastic. On top of that, Skroce has an intrinsic understanding of compositions, placing his characters in consistently engaging poses and giving them a bevy of intricate facial details.
Although this is more due to personal preference, I found when Skroce used extra thick brushes to separate foregrounds from backgrounds a little distracting. Obviously there’s a clear reason for it and it’s not a bad idea in theory for deciphering Skroce’s detail-heavy style. But he doesn’t do it consistently and I found the panels and pages without the added thickness more visually pleasing. They flowed better and didn’t stick out so much.
I’m sure the panels with the thick lines would be distinguishable without the added help because Skroce is already so skilled at clear compositions and balancing details. But if I’m complaining about brush thickness, you know something is being done right.
Although Dave Stewart is something of an iconic colorist in American comics, his style is sadly straightforward, leaving Post Americana a little flat in the coloring department. The only choice that really stands out is some added color to Carolyn when she fires off her laser gun, emitting pink energy. Aside from that, this is standard work, painting out every other surface in beige or adjacent shades on the color wheel.
Overall, Post Americana is not terribly original, and it’s certainly not high-brow. But its art and irreverent tone make for an engaging read worth several re-readings for the energy and grandiose details supplied.
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