Published on February 25th, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
The Superannuated Man #6 Review
The Superannuated Man is a work of visual, poetic genius and its final issue has all the rhythm and beats of an Edgar Allen Poe horror.
Ted McKeever creates a dark, shadowy gothic setting by manipulating the angles and perspectives of everyday city landscapes. He twists the view of a subway station and distorts a sewer system in such ways that they appear like nightmare landscapes that reflect the melancholic mood of the central character.
Pappy has finally reached a point where he can’t continue, figuratively and literally speaking, as he stands on the edge of a cliff face far below the city of animals that is falling apart above him. He stares out into the ocean at the strange organic creature that has been slowly emerging since issue 1 but he barely has time to digest the spectacle before he is distracted by a series of ‘Pooms’ from behind. He turns in time to see the tunnel that led him to the cliff edge explode outward with a blinding white light.
Then He has an out of body experience, or possibly a life flashing before his eyes moment, either way he strikes up a conversation with Captain, his dog and faithful companion from his better days. This is where McKeever truly mimics Poe as his central character laments about his life, speaking to a ghost of a loved one from his past. But it’s all over too quickly and He is sent flying through the air and then down, into the depths of the ocean.
The ending is strangely optimistic for a comic that has been on the whole very nihilistic and self-destructive. And it will force you to consider all that He has been through and the price that He has had to pay. Has it been worth it? That is the question McKeever is asking you, dear reader.
This series has slowly peeled back the layers of the central character, allowing the reader only the bare minimum of information at any one time. It rewards those who have read each issue although it may not satisfactorily complete the story (leaving plenty of mysteries untouched) it does feel as though a full story has been told. It is a snapshot of Pappy’s life after the outbreak that changed the world. He is a survivor and McKeever shows how he managed to remain alive while so many didn’t but Pappy isn’t necessarily a hero in the classic sense of the word. He doesn’t fight the good fight or even overcome a struggle with evil. He keeps himself to himself and stays out of other people’s business. This means that as a reader you can identify with him on an equal level and understand his naturalistic, survival reactions much easier.
But the star of this show has to be the Art work. With its highly detailed, organic feeling, black and white style, each page is an all-encompassing dreamlike landscape that transports you into McKeever’s weird world and, probably, weirder mind. The emotional complexity that McKeever manages to get across in a few simple panels is astonishing. The penmanship is vibrant and references the Gothic revival in the early 19th century: an art movement that was about recapturing a part of the past and romanticising it in a way that made it acceptable in contemporary society.
The Superannuated Man is about facing the past and letting it go. Moving on. The entire run has been a pleasure to read so much so that it’s actually going to be difficult to move on and just let it go. Like a lot of McKeever’s work, this is something that you will want to revisit again and again. Luckily a collected edition of the entire run is due to be released in April so if you’ve missed an issue, look out for it. It will be money well spent.
Title: The Superannuated Man
Publisher: Image Comics/Shadowline
Writer/Artist: Ted McKeever