Samaritan: Veritas #1
Writer: Matt Hawkins
Art: Atilio Rojo
This past week Image dropped Samaritan:Veritas #1, the beginning of a new chapter in scribe Matt Hawkins’ "Edenverse,”and while there are more downs than ups it is certainly an ambitious comic. Andwhile, unfortunately, Samaritan ultimatelyfalters under the weight of its formulaic plot and blasé characters itstill manages to offer fun for fans of revenge and redemption stories.
Samantha Copeland is out for blood and seeking vengeance.It seems the current POTUS killed the only man she’s ever loved and Samanthais hell-bent on ending both his presidency and his life. (Que overly dramatic music here!) There’s the old, FBI agent friend whofeeds Samantha information; the overly helpful and legendary hackeracquaintance; the team of mercenaries discovered via the dark web and hired bySamantha to execute the first stage of her multi-tiered operation to take downthe heinous President McKitrick. By all accounts it’s modern day pulp fictionat its pulpiest.
The main problem with Samaritan is the‘been there/done that’ plot. (Revenge against a killer, a nearly impenetrabletarget, etc.) In comics, this gimmick is as old as the medium but one that’sbeen refreshingly executed countless times before. So, we know it’s possible. Samaritan,however, offers nothing in the way of that. I could see every event and twistcoming from two miles away. Anothersignificant issue is the generic and 2-D characters of the story. At bestthey’re copycat stand-ins of every hacker/spy/action popcorn thriller of thepast 20 years, in any medium, which makes it extremely difficult to truly carefor either Samantha or her plight.
But then again… it’s this cookie cutter formulathat’s also kind of where Samaritan (somewhat) succeeds.
To be clear, there’s something to be said for this kindof "popcorn" entertainment and there’s a large fanbase out there toprove it. It’s easily digestible and fun and Samaritan very much falls into this category. I read it knowing exactlywhat was around every bend but I kept reading anyway. Was I trapped in raptfascination? Nah. Was I interested enough to finish the issue? Yeah. I like anice, mindless, action-packed romp as much as the next person.
Hawkins excels at keeping any new reader (those, such as myself, who have notread the prior events in the Edenverse) up to speed. I never felt lost and therewas always a pithy explanation about the who, what and why that had come before.However, I could have done without Samaritan’sflashbacks. Hawkins could have been propelling the story forward, covering moreground in the present with a simple sentence or two instead of swamping the plotwith unnecessary flashback sequences.
As for Samaritan’s art, Atilio Rojoturns in a very ho-hum performance. It’s serviceable yet unenthusiastic workand at least it doesn’t get in the way of the story. I honestly believe better;more stylized art would have given more value to the title but at least Rojo’swork is easy to swallow.
Samaritan: Veritaswill be a much more inviting book once it’s collected in TPB format, I believe.There’s just not quite enough here, in a single issue, to keep me pining for thenext installment. But if the beginning and end were available to me in onesitting I’d be much more interested in reading it. It’s like watching the firstfifteen minutes of something like Steven Soderbergh’s "Haywire" (tostick with the theme of a female lead). Notgreat taken in chunks but entertainingly edible if taken as whole.