Tag Archives: sparta u.s.a.

Review – Sparta U.S.A. #5

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Sparta USA 5It’s the second to last issue of this mishmash of fantasy and football and it looks like Sparta U.S.A. is going to come down to the last seconds to bring in the winning touchdown.

Much like the fourth issue of the series the pacing has picked up, with a lot going on and the issue comes off as fast paced and a little rushed.  But what David Lapham and Johnny Timmons pull off is still quite impressive.  There’s quite a few tips of the hat throughout this series including a lot having to do with politics and history.

This issue is also packed with tons of twists and turns and shocking moments that were totally out of the blue.  Here’s hoping this all leads up to a big payoff next issue.  In the end the entire series will be best judged as a whole, but each chapter so far is pretty damn solid.  Check out below before the full review.

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Review – Sparta U.S.A. #4

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Sparta U.S.A. has been the fantastic series that came out of nowhere.  I’ve been waiting for a crack in it’s excellence and the fourth issue seems to deliver that, though only so slightly.

Sparta U.S.A. #4, written by David Lapham and art by Johnny Timmons, is a mix of politics, philosophy and football and the fourth issue shifts it’s focus from Godfrey McLaine to football star Johnny Franks.  And most of the issue seems to rush numerous plot points in an effort to move the story along.  In a six issue series there’s a lot to move in and I can’t help but think it might of helped to expand it a few issues to allow better pacing for some of the crucial events that occur here.

I’m still not quite sure what to expect in the final two issues, but I’m hooked.  This is a very unique series and I can’t wait to see where it ends up.  I’ve enjoyed what’s come so far, let’s see if it scores a touchdown in the end.

Plot: As I said above the series is pretty dense and the pacing so far has been excellent, up to this issue.  There’s just so many plot developments and little time given to some of them, that the issue comes off as choppy.  But, it’s a key issue moving those plots forward.  Overall, I imagine that read as a trade paperback this issue will make a lot more sense, but in of itself, it’s a bit hard to make sense of everything.  Rating: 7

Art: Timmons’ art is still solid and fitting of the various different plot’s needs.  It’s consistent and hasn’t wavered one way or another for all four issues.  Rating: 8

Overall Rating: Definitely the weakest issue of the series but a vital one.  There’s only two more issues to go and where I thought it was going is definitely not what reality is.  I’m on the edge of my seat in anticipation to see the end game.  Overall rating: 7.5

Recommendation: Read

Page count: 22 pages of story    Price: $2.99     Release: Wednesday 6/3/2010

DC and Wildstorm provided Graphic Policy with an advance copy of this issue for FREE for review.

Review – Sparta U.S.A. #3

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“You find out life’s this game of inches, so is football.”

– Tony D’Amato, Any Given Sunday

Each time we see Sparta U.S.A. on the new release list, we hope there’ll be a package waiting for us from DC and Wildstorm containing the latest issue.  We’ve given glowing reviews for the first and second issues.  This week, we get an early treat as the issue was waiting at the door on Tuesday.  The series continues on it’s mix of football, Americana, politics and fantasy with a little bit teased, but not enough to quite figure out exactly what’s going on.

This issue falls in the aftermath of Godfrey McLaine’s confrontation with the Maestro.  The town is uneasy with McLaine’s return and sits on the edge of civil war.  Everything is teetering and who knows which way it’ll fall.  Politics, action, and mystery all with a football backdrop.  Somehow it works, and we can’t be happier.

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Review – Sparta U.S.A. #2

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Sparta USA 2I was pleasantly surprised to find a copy of Sparta U.S.A. #2 on my doorstep after being thoroughly impressed with the first issue.  To catch you up the series follows the return of Godfrey McLaine (who’s drawn a lot like Colin Farrell) and his attempt to free his hometown from the grip of the Maestro.

The series so far is rich with subtle political themes and some not so subtle (the two main characters are red and blue).  Keywords such as “commie”, “freedom”, “choice” are sprinkled throughout the dialogue and McLaine is even accused of being in the grip of a “dangerous political philosophy.”

One could say this is a simple allegory about modern day American politics but then writer David Laphan includes the Muslim concept of Houri and 72 Virgins throwing a wrench in the simple explanation.  This shows the writer’s intent of an even deeper philosophical debate that this very well may also be a greater discussion about paradise and what being an American is all about.

Plot: David Lapham (Stray Bullets, Young Liars) continues his dig about political concepts such as “freedom” and “choice”.  With the inclusion of the important number 72, we’d also thinks there’s even a deeper debate about the concept of paradise itself.  The story can be enjoyed for the simple plot itself or for those that want a good philosophical read, there are rich underlying themes.  We’re enjoying it on all levels.  Rating: 9

Art: Johnny Timmons continues his excellent art that befits the story.  The style continues it’s mix of clean and dirty we described in the first review that fits the “something’s not right” plot line.  It’s nice to look at, but it’s the story that’s the focus here.  Rating: 8

Overall: Whoever is smart enough to be sending this series to us, please keep it up.  It’s one of our favorite politically charge comics on the stand.  It’s there and present, but doesn’t beat you over the head or outright spell it out for you.  It’s an enjoyable series at all levels and we highly recommend you give it a shot.  It’s original, and refreshing and just plain good.  Overall Rating: 8.75

Recommendation: Buy

Page count: 22 pages of story    Price: $2.99     Release: Wednesday 4/7/2010

DC and Wildstorm provided Graphic Policy with an advance copy of this issue for FREE for review.

Review – Sparta U.S.A. #1

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Sparta USA 1Sparta U.S.A. arrive in my mailbox unexpectedly.  I wasn’t expecting to receive a copy for review and also knew nothing about the comic book.  It’s one in all honesty I would have passed over on the new release shelf.  And that would of been a missed opportunity.  Set in a Pollyanna American town called Sparta, the series is a sly look at the American Dream, ideals, and has a nice undertone of political commentary.  The two main characters are the Maestro, a blue man who runs the town of Sparta and Godfrey McLaine, the hailed quarterback who’s returned after a three year disappearance but now he’s red.

I can’t help but feel that those two distinct colors, red and blue, were chosen as they are the two most associated with the two main political parties here in the United States.  It’s clear these two colors are going to clash like the titans of the sport that’s prominently focused upon in the series, football, as well as the two parties that go head to head each election season.

From the DC release:

There’s never been a town more American than Sparta.  In Sparta they believe in mom, apple pie and all-American football.  They believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness through subterfuge, treachery, blackmail, and murder – just like the Maestro taught them as he learned it from the President of the United States.  Sparta is such a great place no one ever thinks of leaving, which is good because the mountains are filled with deadly Yeti.  It’s been three years since anyone tried, and he was never heard from again… until today.

Today, Godfrey McLaine, the greatest quarterback in the Might Spartans history, has returned from the mountains bigger, taller and redder than when he left.  He’s also armed with tales of magic and a secret, which will expose the rotten core of the American Dream.

Though it doesn’t say it outright, this could be some of the most subtle and interesting political commentary out there.

Plot: Written by David Lapham (Stray Bullets, Young Liars) the series begins as a weird look at a town obsessed with football.  But there’s more too it, with a hint of magic and fantasy.  In the first issue we’re introduced to the major players and are shown all is not right in Sparta.  Something is clearly wrong.  We’re left with a mystery, but enough of a tease that it made me want to come back for more. Rating: 8.75

Art: Johnny Timmons picks up the art duty for the series with a style that’s befitting the story.  I don’t know how to describe it, but it fits the
apple pie but something’s not right” plot of the series.  It’s both clean and dirty at the same time.  The character design is consistent and the level of detail gives enough to tell the story and not distract with interesting character designs.  It’s nice to look at, but it’s the story that’s the focus here.  Rating: 8

Overall: The series came out of left field, as I’d never heard of it, and wasn’t expecting to find it in my mail box.  I’m very pleased I did as it’s an original story that befits the television screen as much as the comic page.  There’s something familiar and fantastical at the same time.  The themes seem pertinent and timely but not preachy and definitely doesn’t clock you over the head.  We’ll see as the series progresses but we’re looking forward to what might be the most sly series of the year.  Overall Rating: 8.5

Recommendation: Buy

Page count: 22 pages of story    Price: $2.99     Release: Wednesday 3/3/2010

DC and Wildstorm provided Graphic Policy with an advance copy of this issue for FREE for review.