The Best Comics Fans Of The Boys Should Read – SlashFilm


“Black Summer” cuts between two scenes in its open pages. In the first, retired superhero Tom Noir stares in his bathroom mirror, lamenting his age. Pretty ordinary stuff, until he switches on CNN and sees the other half of this opening. Noir’s old comrade, John Horus, marches onto the White House’s press briefing room, covered in blood and announcing that he’s killed the president, vice president, and their cabinet.

Ellis and Ryp published “Black Summer” in 2007. Like any member of the U.S. public with a brain or soul did by that year, Horus has realized that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was illegal and started under false pretenses. So, he cut the head off this snake and has declared he will oversee a new election to make the right people get into office this time.

“Superman assassinates the George W. Bush administration” is one of the most jaw-dropping premises for a comic I’ve ever heard. It’s all the more fascinating because Horus has not turned evil like the Plutonian or Homelander. No, he still believes he’s the world’s greatest hero and that his job is to fight evil in all its forms. The contradiction between the leaders of America, the country whose dream he defended, doing something utterly heinous broke him. In any other case, he wouldn’t hesitate to take down a war criminal, so why should that war criminal being the president make him act differently?

If you’re a Liberal, there can be some dark catharsis to this opening. Ellis, though, presents Horus not as a savior but just a superpowered Lee Harvey Oswald. The rest of “Black Summer” is not about him remaking the world like Miracleman did, but federal authorities hunting down Horus, Noir, and their other teammates in the “Seven Guns.”

In Warren Ellis comics, superheroes are never the solution to a problem the people must fix.

“Black Summer” is available as a single print collected edition.

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