The Divided States of Hysteria #1 (Image)


Rating: 4/5 – Chaykin Doing What Chaykin Does…
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall

If you’re a fan of Howard Chaykin’s creator-owned work in comics, you’ll probably like this.  For the uninitiated, herein you’ll find: violence, bad language, nudity, sex, and a pre-op transgender prostitute engaged in all of these.  Add in Chaykin’s propensity for putting his left-leaning politics on the page and you have a package that’s great for people who like these sorts of things in a story and an absolute nightmare scenario for the straight-laced.

The story is set in a world where the President and most of his Cabinet were recently assassinated in an aborted coup d’etat.  This issue has a lot of setup.  Chaykin is putting the players on the page, from a CIA Field Officer who talks to his wife on the phone while in a hotel room with his mistress to a variety of colorful characters who all have a propensity for violence and all end up in police custody, their introductory vignettes concluding with their mug shots.  The art is as you would expect from Chaykin, expressive with great visual storytelling.  In my opinion Chaykin is in the top 10 of artists who draw wonderful facial expressions that really sell the story, and this issue is no exception.  There are a lot of great faces here, all the better for looking like real people and not all being beautiful models.

Chaykin is building a dystopian near-future that may be a bit too close to something that could actually happen for comfort.  As a reader, I am assuming this first issue is really following the “introduce the team members” trope, with issue #2 being where they are brought together to complete some mission related to the inciting event on the last page.  While this is definitely not for everyone, if you don’t mind violence with a side order of sex then this is worth checking out.  At its core it is classic Chaykin, as he has evolved for the 21st century.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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1 Response to The Divided States of Hysteria #1 (Image)

  1. Pingback: Image Comics pulls ‘Divided States of America’ #4 cover after widespread criticism – SMASH PAGES

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