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The American Way (The American Way #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  116 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Critically acclaimed novelist and screenwriter John Ridley (Three Kings) offers a unique vision of U.S. history in the thrilling graphic novel THE AMERICAN WAY!

The 1960s were a decade of incredible change for America. It was a time of innocence. It was a time of optimism. It was a time of heroes.

In the early '40s, the United States government hatched a plan to create t

Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 7th 2007 by WildStorm
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Apr 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this story of groups of 1960's superheroes being created by the government to fight faux foes based on propagandist enemies. This is done in an effort to bolster American confidence and steer public opinion.

The story hits its stride when a black man is introduced into the program. The thought is that after several years of fighting under a helmet, he'll be revealed as black in order to help along the civil rights movement because he's a known heroic quantity. Only the governm
Aug 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, 2010
Superheroes are defined by their villains. But the heroes of The American Way don't have an arch-enemy to kick around. They exist merely to promote U.S. propaganda. An interesting idea? Maybe. And maybe not. Because the story takes place inside the Kennedy White House, we get lots of talk about nuclear war and civil rights. And, of course, the heroes are exploited to suit the government's agenda. In the end all the historic signifiers take a backseat to a bunch of bickering (and bored) superhero ...more
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This is not a simple polemic. Ridley weaves a story about race and politics that is shockingly subtle.
Jul 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who want social commentary with their superheroes
The American Way is a great idea for a comic story that could’ve been an amazing book, but certain scenes hold it back from being ranked among the other good superhero books like Watchmen and Powers.
The American Way follows government-sponsored superheroes (under the decidedly unheroic but bureaucratic name the Civil Defense Corps) in the early 1960s (just as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were resuscitating the superhero genre) that has two big problems: they’re all white, and they’re all a sham. The
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: digital-comics
I was flabbergasted by how great this book was. Ridley tells a post-superhero story that instantly becomes unique in its setting: Kennedy-era 1960s. The richness of the background in Ridley's story is rife with '60s nostalgia and historical awesomeness. However, in this alternate history, superheroes not only exist in America but are engineered by a government that uses their staged exploits to manipulate public perception during the Cold War.

But the cornerstone of THE AMERICAN WAY is the story'
Jan 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: tradepaperbacks
cast from the "Watchmen", "Truth: Red, White and Black" mold - troubled racist playacting superheroes that are a facade for the government who stages fights for them to boost national ex adman for the auto industry gets hired as a spin doctor for the Kennedy White House and introduces the lone African American superhero to the mix...the world is forever changed

John Ridley is a great author who hasn't received his proper due
Eric Skillman
Sep 29, 2007 rated it liked it
Picked this up on a whim when I needed something to read on the train home last week—apparently Joss Whedon liked it enough to ginch artist Georges Jeanty for his new Buffy comic, so I figured it must have something going for it, right? Turns out it did—this is actually very well done. Sure, the allegory is painted in pretty broad strokes, but flying people in tights aren't exactly known for subtlety, right? Fits nicely in with some of the better superhero comics of recent years—Astro City, Plan ...more
Jun 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Though I think the narrator slows down the narrative (huh.. story that is...) and makes this books sound FAR TOO preachy (like Kevin Smith's Dogma preachy) I think the author stumbled on a great Superhero story (and there are so few of them). Not to mention that this book features one of the most frightening villains I've ever read. I also LOVE Jeanty's art. He is drawing Buffy season 8 now and it's also fan-damn-tastic.
Ken Reed
Jul 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: trades
This book started off with a great premiss and great promise. I literally couldn't put it down. Then it seemed like the authors had to quickly finish. Like with most unusual comic ideas, I'm guessing this one didn't take and was, sadly, cancelled.

This book could have been WAY more. Not just as a comic but lessons in forgiveness, justice, equality and, dare I say it, being human. Again, sad to see it end quickly.
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Definitely enjoyable, and rewardingly nasty; while it is definitely anvilly throughout, it is possibly more effective as social- and cape- commentary than some of Warren Ellis' work, if only because it plays around with the ordinary assholery of whitecollar gits. I'm going to give this a four because despite needing a bit of an edit, it overcomes its preachiness to genuinely engage one on a visceral level... and surprisingly well at that. A keeper.
Sep 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
Pretty terrible actually. The story-the government creates a team of superheroes to foster to the unity during the Cold War, and then they fight among themselves when a black superhero shows up. I had tons of problems with the writing-very hamhanded, a billion different interchangeable characters, and pretty terrible resolution. The art wasn't really anything to write home about either, the characters didn't really feel like they were inhabiting the early 60's.
Jun 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was in the vein of Busiek's Astro City, setting up an alternate history with superheroes. In this case, the political and racial tensions of the Cold War and Cuban Missile Crisis coupled with the fight for Civil Rights. As such there is a lot of strong language, with plenty of F-bombs and N-words tossed around, but none of it is gratuitous. It's an interesting take on that era, but it's also a pretty good story in and of itself.
Jack Cheng
Clever superhero deconstruction with strong thematic parallels to America in the 1960s (when the story is set). A bit like Watchmen, there are lots of clever bits that riff off comics and other bits of pop culture. Main problem here are the villains -- primarily one who arises out of nowhere with no motivation.

Great art.
Feb 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
Such a great premise but such disappointing execution.
Feb 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: read2007
The government creates superheroes to foster national pride and shape popular opinion.
Rory (Nightwyrm)
Aug 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
My full review on Guerrilla Geek:
Yoni Rechtman
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Nov 19, 2015
Eric Mikols
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Jul 27, 2008
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Jul 27, 2017
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Mar 14, 2016
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Jan 25, 2015
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May 13, 2012
Harry Connolly
rated it it was ok
Oct 02, 2009
David Cole
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Other Books in the Series

The American Way (2 books)
  • The American Way: Those Above and Those Below (The American Way, #2)