Liberality For All
Book Released: 05 April 2006
Review posted: 18 April 2006
Writer: Mike Mackey
Artist: Donny Lin
Letters: Mike Mackey
Ink: Donny Lin
Colors: Donny Lin
Publisher: ACC Studios
4.00 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by J. W. DeBolt Jr.
In an alternate-reality America, political liberals have taken power in the executive, judicial and legislative branches of the government and they are, in essence, having their way with the country. In this reality, Albert Gore won the presidency in 2004 and his policies encouraged and empowered Saddam Hussein, Usama bin Laden, and other enemies of American hegemony and influence. U.S. armed forces have been absorbed into the United Nations forces and must submit to their authority. Civil liberties dried up and being politically conservative became, in effect, illegal. Gun control is almost complete; only the government forces are allowed to carry guns. The word “God” has been removed from U.S. currency and from the Pledge of Allegiance. Iraq, Iran and a unified communist Korea all have nuclear weapons. A campaign to eliminate conservatives throughout the country has begun and conservative commentators are cut off in mid-broadcast on television and radio. Some big names get assassinated.
At the 9/11 Ground Zero, Freedom Tower is to be renamed something less “antagonistic” to America’s enemies — “Unity Tower.”
SH:“Without paying the price of their own blood, many felt, by providence or design, that they somehow deserved the rewards they were born with.”
In the wake this situation, an underground team of conservatives who have survived imprisonment and assassination attempts have banded together as “The Freedom of Information League” to fight those who would destroy what’s left of their America. This team includes a cybernetically-enhanced Sean Hannity, a similarly-endowed G. Gordon Liddy, and other names you’ll recognize. The technical expert Oscar performs these enhancements and has a moving backstory (perhaps his name is a tribute to astronaut Steve Austin’s mentor from The Six Million Dollar Man). The origin of Oscar’s service serves as the central flashback subplot of the second issue. Hannity sports a bionic arm that can fire an Electromagnetic Pulse and more.
Usama bin Laden is now the Afghan ambassador with immunity in the U.S. In fact, Muslims in the U.S. all have immunity and freedom of movement, organization, etc. In the story, bin Laden is on his way to the United Nations to give a speech apologizing for the 9/11 attacks. But he carries a suitcase nuke to take out New York City and it’s up to F.O.I.L. to foil the scheme.
Meanwhile, young Reagan McGee, born on 9/11/01, grows up with an independent mind, allowing himself to be alienated by the mainstream, and taking
a path that will make him the center of future events. He is just learning what it means to be a Patriot in a time when “Patriot” becomes a dirty word. The scenes with Reagan are among the best in the story.
Great lines abound in the text, usually in the mouth of Liddy for wit and Hannity for philosophy. I like the part where Liddy finds a vintage Harley Davidson motorcycle and is enraged that it was to be shipped to the desert — a death sentence to an open-air engine. Mackey gets his phraseology down well for the characters. It’s more fun when you imagine the speakers’ voices as you read them; if you haven’t heard them check out their radio shows.
I’m not too thrilled with the art, but that’s my subjective assessment. The layout and organization is fine, the colors are bold and thematically coordinated; I just don’t like the style. (One minor peeve: The lettering is in all capital letters, but Mackey didn’t space out “A to Z” in the name “A to Z Bookstore,” so when you first come across it, you read “Atoz Bookstore.”)
The world in this eight-issue miniseries seems like an American version of the one from V For Vendetta perhaps four to eight years before the government takes complete control of society, or perhaps a decade or two before the world of 1984, yet placed in the near future where technology can serve the rebels and help even the odds — or at least keep F.O.I.L. alive.
The way the creators present the story, one cannot tell if the writer is a conservative writing about a dystopian future or a liberal — or even a non-political person, if one exists — writing extreme sarcasm. But the authors do take the
alternate-historical setting to its logical extremes and the story thus far remains consistent in that sphere. On the liberal-conservative scale developed by Dr. Joseph DeBolt of Central Michigan University (a concept that should replace the traditional but antiquated “left/right” terminology), the different worldviews are defined by how much power the person thinks the government should have, so the scale would start with those wanting the least government, anarchists, and move through libertarians, to conservatives, liberals, socialists, fascists, communists and, finally, to totalitarians. So the world in this story has moved from today’s place between conservative and liberal on the scale (but closer to liberal), to the far side of liberal, close to socialist, where the government’s control over the individual has significantly increased.
GGL:“It’s not a gun! It’s called a weapon or a rifle. You should respect it! Even if it’s made in France.”
I can imagine the difficulty Mike Mackey encountered trying to get this story published. All sorts of controversial comicbooks get published — pornography and, in the past, graphic horror — but comicbooks from an overt conservative point of view are rare, and this is the only one I know of that demonizes liberals. So hats off to Mackey, artist Donny Lin and the others who were able to achieve publication of Liberality for All in an era where soon it perhaps will not be possible.
Apparently, the series has received a lot of press coverage, but I had never heard of it when I found it. You know that the Big Two, and maybe most of the smaller presses, wouldn’t touch material like this. It’s refreshing to see something so different appear on the stands (hard as these were to find — an odd circumstance brought the first issue to my attention). Whether this is conservative fantasy or liberal satire carried to the extreme, Liberality For All is a gutsy book with exciting action, tension, pathos and an emotional plot. There’s nothing else like this on the shelves, so check it out — if you can find it.
Cover image used without explicit permission in accordance with the "Fair Use" provision of US copyright law.