Saturday, February 4, 2012

The One Trade Paperback Review

The One
King Hell Press
Softcover Trade Paperback
192 pages
$14.00 (1989)
$17.95 (2003)
ISBN 9780962486456

Contributors: Rick Veitch

Reprints: The One #1-6 (of 6)

Synopsis: The world has teetered on the brink of nuclear annihilation for decades and is deep in the throes of the Cold War.  Itchy Itch, the world's richest boy grown up into a loathsome billionaire crackpot, tips the balance of power and the nuclear silos empty on both sides.  It looks like the end, but a miraculous intervention stops mutual extinction - The One! 

A mysterious being (or metaphysical concept) with the goal of helping all of mankind ascend to the next level of evolution, The One lives among us, but has its own enemies.  First and foremost is The One's opposite number - The Other!  Representing all the evil and greed within the collective mind of humans, The Other wishes to drag humanity back into a primordial debauchery. 

Smoke 'em if you got 'em
Both the US and USSR have covert superhuman programs ready to put into action, but the two countries bungle it through gross misconduct of the power elite.  Now superhumans threaten to destroy society where nuclear weapons failed and everyone must choose a side.  Join The One to gain spiritual enlightenment or join The Other to get earthly pleasures.  The world is doomed!

Pros: Great commentary on the cold war era during the '80s (self-annihilation of the world), beautiful satire on superheroes as weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), Veitch's original covers are awesome (and thankfully in color for this edition), Ubermaus!

Cons: Black and white collected edition - the original was in color and looked better, Puzz Fundles stories are totally lame

Mike Tells It Straight: Rick Veitch is a master storyteller and one of the "Revisionist Superhero Movement" pioneers.  The One is his powerful first entry into the pantheon of stories (which includes Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, Miracleman, Veitch's Bratpack) which brought the superhero into a modern light for adult sensibilities. 

Enjoy The One classic
The One is a fascinating look at the '80s when nuclear self-destruction was thoroughly embedded in the collective unconscious of the world yet culture was leaning toward opulent self-obsession.  I was drawn back to my early childhood when Coca-Cola, Nike, and Marlboro ruled the landscape.

This story is a must-read for fans of Veitch, Moore, Miller, Gaiman, and any of those other pioneers who looked at the pathetic state of corporate superheroes and thought things should be different.  I preferred the original color version, but the book is still a worthwhile read.  You consider yourself a mature reader - well, what are you waiting for then?

TO BUY and Recommendations: