Whether you believe it belongs in the medium or not, there is no denying that political views and opinions have been a fundamental part of the storytelling process in comics for a long time. This week, we check out Acceptable Losses, a new superhero comic from Joe Glass (The Pride) and Danny Flores which sees the hero’s mission come under threat from the political entities which command him.
Publisher: Queer Comix
Writer: Joe Glass
Artist: Danny Flores (Art), Moose Baumann (Colours), Mike Stock (Letters)
Acceptable Losses tells the story of Sam Tyler, codenamed U.S. Eagle, America’s first and only superhero. Sent on a mission to eliminate one of the heads of a dangerous terrorist group, Sam’s mission becomes more complicated as he finds his opposition a great deal larger in number than expected. With the mission facing almost certain failure, Senator McKeen, the man in charge of the operation, makes the decision to implement a missile strike despite knowing the cost in both civilian and his hero’s lives. However, in the aftermath, how will the world judge the decision made and will all involved agree that justice has been done?
Joe Glass has crafted an incredibly captivating and thought provoking story within the covers of Acceptable Losses. While his previous offering of the Pride and Stiffs are of a much lighter and optimistic tone, Acceptable Losses feels more serious. Glass uses the title to deliver his more political/worldly viewpoints as the story is heavily political, which is expertly delivered in an unbiased manner. The characters are all very well written as they all occupy differing shades of grey – from the Senator McKeen to Sam and even DeShawn (who feels like the most noble character). This seems intentional as Glass brings across the notion within his characters that power (in its various forms) allows for a sort of detachment from regular people, as this appears both in the cast’s actions as well as the consequences they come face.
As for the art, Danny Flores proves himself as the perfect choice for this title with some truly gorgeous artwork which imbues Acceptable Losses with a style which is very reminiscent of Clay Mann’s work on Valiant’s Ninjak series. This is solidified by Moose Baumann’s colours, whose fantastic use of the dark tones along with the implementation of shadows really gives this story the appropriate weight and atmosphere. However, one standout of Flores and Baumann’s work on this title is a scene of Sam meeting his ‘enemy’, which comes across as having a sort of dreamlike haze to it. This works well as it gives the vibe of Sam ‘waking up’ as he finds himself questioning all that he believed he knew about those he serves.
Acceptable Losses may come across as a very political comic, but it is definitely comic which is essential reading. Joe Glass, who was no slouch in the writing department to begin with, has written the best comic of his career yet while joining up with equally incredible artistic talent in Danny Flores and Moose Baumann (as well as the ever dependable Mike Stock on letters). If there is one flaw Acceptable Losses has, it is that it is only a one shot, although with the open ending it delivers, that could certainly change.