Cliff: Comics have focused on the beliefs, religion, and culture of ancient Greece, Scandinavia, Rome, China, Japan, and England...but there have been all too few comics that have been set against the backdrop of American Indian culture. That's one aspect of Peace Party that piqued my curiosity. What hooked me, though, was that the book combined intelligent, respectful attitudes towards American Indian culture with strong comic book storytelling and solid artwork. It's a fine line to walk: Go too far towards cultural insight and the book becomes preachy, but pay too little attention and the book becomes flat and stereotyped. Robert Schmidt, Ron Fattoruso, and Mike Kelleher manage to walk that tightrope quite capably.
Brett: I was equally impressed with that same quality. I was expecting a book that shoved Native American beliefs and ethics down your throat, and that wasn't something that interested me. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate and respect that culture—my wife is a part of that culture, being part Native American and all—but I would equally dislike a comic that pushed Christian beliefs or Jewish culture, or any other perspective too hard. This gave you all of the flavor, but none of the distaste.
Cliff: The book focuses on a trio of friends whose getaway trip turns into a deadly adventure; seeking help after an auto accident, they stumble across a hit in progress and find themselves the targets of some very well-financed—and well-armed—killers. Sounds like a pretty strong buddy film, right? That's not all that's going on here; there are also subplots involving a coal mining operation that's diverting water supplies away from the desert-dwelling Indians, a dream journey that charges the book's heroes with the salvation of our world, and traditional-versus-assimilated culture—and they all play a part in the unfolding story.
Schmidt, Kelleher, and Fattoruso are solid visual storytellers. Every now and then, the art fails to deliver what the plot calls for—visuals that are described in dialogue aren't discernible in the panel—but that's a failing that I'm sure will be remedied in future issues, as the artists get more experience.
Brett: I felt that the pace was very well handled. They took the story and kept it moving, and kept switching back and forth between the various aspects of the story, giving you that feeling of all the elements fitting together somehow.
Cliff: Peace Party #1 is entitled "Beginnings"—particularly appropriate, since I get the feeling that elements that begin in this story are going to have significant ramifications on future storylines. I'm eager to see what those ramifications are; Peace Party has intrigued me to the point that I'm already eager to read the next issue...and that's the ultimate sign of a comic book's success.
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Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.
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