Writer Christos Gage enters a new world this Wednesday with Absolution #0, the start of a new superhero series published by Avatar.
Last August, we spoke with Gage about the series, and as he explained it, there’s a real basis for the story. “I've been thinking about what it would be like for someone to actually be a superhero and see horrible things on a daily basis,” Gage said. “Psychopaths, sadists, tragedies and their victims. I don't see how one could avoid being affected by it. They'd probably experience some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder. Real-life SVU cops (those who deal with sex crimes and child abuse) are transferred after two years, because the police department has determined that no one can handle what they experience, mentally and emotionally, for very long. John Dusk has been on the job a lot longer than two years...and it's getting to him. Which doesn't necessarily mean he's crazy. It just means he's had enough.”
With #0 hitting this week, we checked with Gage again for his top five reasons why people should pick up the introductory issue.
1) It's only $1.99! For that you get an 11 page story that introduces John Dusk, a superhero in a world where they're a licensed branch of law enforcement…except John has an unusual moonlighting job: he kills criminals the law can't touch. Predators, pedophiles…people who just need killing. He knows it's not a good idea or a nice thing to do…he knows sooner or later his fellow heroes or his homicide detective girlfriend will find out…but he can't seem to bring himself to stop. You also get some awesome art and an essay by yours truly explaining all the places I stole ideas from, such as my wife and my friend who had to quit being a cop before he went postal on some mofos. All for two bucks! Now that's a stimulus package! (And I held back the “in my pants” joke that just sprang to mind, so you owe me for that too.)
2) This is my first wholly original superhero universe. Over the course of the series, you'll meet John Dusk's partners The Servant and Alpha (better known as Alpha B*tch), and villains like the Technocrat and Happy Kitty (designed by the artist of Warren Ellis' Freakangels, Paul Duffield). It's a world rooted as much in my experience writing crime dramas like Law & Order: SVU as it is in my comics background on books like Avengers: The Initiative, G.I. Joe: Cobra, and Stormwatch: PHD. And Ed Brubaker thinks it sounds cool! “This looks really great,” he posted on Warren Ellis' Whitechapel message board, where I'm hosting an Absolution thread this week. “I love that concept.” And he's smarter than you and me put together. So just do what Brubaker says and nobody gets hurt, okay?
3) Come on, don't you need to buy everything with covers by Juan Jose Ryp (Black Summer) and Jacen Burrows (Crossed)? And on the inside, you get art by Roberto Viacava, who is new to the US but has a bright future ahead of him. He's no rookie, and he just gets better as the story goes along. He has an amazing ability to draw realistic settings and characters yet make superheroes fit in seamlessly. So it looks pretty…as pretty as exploding heads can look, anyway. Which brings me to…
4) It's naughty! What we call a “hard R” rating. If I were smart, I probably would have used that to show gratuitous nudity and girl on girl action, but instead you get graphic depictions of the horrible things super-powers could really do to a human being, and potty-mouthed cops. Damn it, I couldn't have thrown in one wet t-shirt contest? Oh well…if you like shows like The Shield, Dexter and Deadwood, you might like this too.
5) It's patriotic! Look, most of Avatar's books are by foreigners stealing jobs from hard-working American comic writers. Ennis, Ellis, Moore…even their names are suspicious sounding and hard to pronounce. Not red-blooded USA names like Christos. In these times, don't we all need to protect American jobs? Especially mine? And like all the finest homegrown products, I put all my love and sweat and tears into it…I promise you I busted my butt to tell a good story. Give it a shot and see if you aren't tempted to place an order for #1. I'll be your best friend…