Published on November 5th, 2014 | by JCDoyle0
The Superannuated Man #4 – Review
Bolo isn’t happy. It’s not really his fault that he ate some of Bosco’s ‘special’ meat after all he was hungry. And Bosco’s reaction was a little bit over the top: by burning the ship they sailed in on he has risked setting fire to the entire port. Plus, he caught He so what’s all the fuss about?
The fuss, it seems, is all a front as Bosco threatens to torture He while admitting he knows the last humans secret already. Bosco gives He his true name back and in turn He takes it and runs with it. A history is unveiled as Happy Pappy, formerly know as He, sets the record straight about his past. As a fisherman and Guide to the ocean for busybody tourists, Happy Pappy had never really amounted to anything much, although he had adopted an impressive drinking habit. This all came crashing to shore when one over eager punter toppled over the side of the boat and became intimately entangled with the motor. For this one small instance of negligence, Happy Pappy became branded as a killer. Over time, as the Humans fell away and the mutations took over, Pappy’s history became rewritten through hearsay and Chinese whispers. By the present day his reputation far exceeds his drunken, misspent youth.
But it appears that none of this is really a surprise to Bosco and in true Mafia style, the entire capture/torture routine was a ploy to weed out a weasel, or in this case Cheater, from the pack.
The Superannuated Man makes his getaway in flamboyant style but his poor footing sends him toppling down into the murky depths of the city.
And elsewhere something spawns.
Ted McKeever is a master of manipulation. He uses his images to disrupt the readers understanding of what is ‘normal’ by starting with very close shots of something and then the narrative takes figurative steps backwards, each time revealing more of the situation and each time changing the observers understanding of what they are looking at. This technique means that the reader never gets comfortable with the comic and is therefore on edge throughout the narrative.
McKeever then does something similar with the script in the capture/torture scene. As each of the central characters revel what they know, an extra layer of history is uncovered altering the readers understanding of the previous confession. This all represents an aspect of the world in general: that only through continuous study can one hope to understand urban myths and the ‘facts’ that are reported to the world. Nothing can be judged by surface alone which is something that McKeever highlights towards the end of this issue as he returns to the underwater female form from issue 3.
Where this comic really excels is in the silent art work. Panel after panel of vivacious art with an energetic feel. There is a clear sense of movement, of striving forward, as if using the reader as a camera with which to view the creators eccentric story. McKeever has a distinctive style which suits the black and white format. He uses ambiquities in his drawing and his design to create an atmosphere in which he allows his stories to grow naturally. There is an element of David Lynch in what he produces: delving below the seemingly calm surface to reveal depths of unimaginable strangeness. But even here, there is something that we, as observers, can understand. After all, we all get a little hungy sometimes, don’t we?
Title: Superannuated Man
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer/Artist: Ted McKeever