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. And
while, unfortunately, Samaritan ultimately
falters under the weight of its formulaic plot and blasé characters it
still 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 Samantha
is hell-bent on ending both his presidency and his life.
(Que overly dramatic music here!) There’s the old, FBI agent friend who
feeds Samantha information; the overly helpful and legendary hacker
acquaintance; the team of mercenaries discovered via the dark web and hired by
Samantha to execute the first stage of her multi-tiered operation to take down
the heinous President McKitrick. By all accounts it’s modern day pulp fiction
at its pulpiest.
The main problem with Samaritan is the
‘been there/done that’ plot. (Revenge against a killer, a nearly impenetrable
target, etc.) In comics, this gimmick is as old as the medium but one that’s
been 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 twist
coming from two miles away. Another
significant issue is the generic and 2-D characters of the story. At best
they’re copycat stand-ins of every hacker/spy/action popcorn thriller of the
past 20 years, in any medium, which makes it extremely difficult to truly care
for either Samantha or her plight.
But then again… it’s this cookie cutter formula
that’s also kind of where Samaritan (somewhat) succeeds.
To be clear, there’s something to be said for this kind
of "popcorn" entertainment and there’s a large fanbase out there to
prove it. It’s easily digestible and fun and Samaritan very much falls into this category. I read it knowing exactly
what was around every bend but I kept reading anyway. Was I trapped in rapt
fascination? Nah. Was I interested enough to finish the issue? Yeah. I like a
nice, mindless, action-packed romp as much as the next person.
Hawkins excels at keeping any new reader (those, such as myself, who have not
read the prior events in the Edenverse) up to speed. I never felt lost and there
was always a pithy explanation about the who, what and why that had come before.
However, I could have done without Samaritan’s
flashbacks. Hawkins could have been propelling the story forward, covering more
ground in the present with a simple sentence or two instead of swamping the plot
with unnecessary flashback sequences.
As for Samaritan’s art, Atilio Rojo
turns in a very ho-hum performance. It’s serviceable yet unenthusiastic work
and 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’s
work is easy to swallow.
will 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 the
next installment. But if the beginning and end were available to me in one
sitting I’d be much more interested in reading it. It’s like watching the first
fifteen minutes of something like Steven Soderbergh’s "Haywire" (to
stick with the theme of a female lead). Not
great taken in chunks but entertainingly edible if taken as whole.