Friday, February 5, 2016

Jericho Season 3: Civil War

On the Internet there are stories galore published by conspiracy theorists talking about the end of days, or an impending apocalypse. Of course, many of these are deep rooted inside strange interpretations of prophecy and the rise of the antichrist, but there are some stories that are spawned from a deep-rooted fear of the government and the military industrial complex that falls under control of the New World Order.

Incredibly, many similar theories were brought to life in pop culture by the cult television sensation Jericho in 2006. While Jericho was not for everyone and was cancelled due to failed ratings, many of the storylines in this post-apocalyptic series resonated throughout the underworld of conspiracy theorists, especially those who view the military industrial complex and the government as the biggest enemy to the country’s sovereignty. 

Through this remarkable show, viewers were able to see the emotional gambit of surviving a nuclear attack on American soil, and the turmoil that arrives when the country is turned into two nations. As America discovered in the 1800s, two nations is not an optimal situation. Unfortunately, CBS pulled the plug before fans could see the completion of the impending civil war and many were left with too many unanswered questions. 

In 2009, the shows’ creators and writing staff came together with Devil’s Due Publishing to produce Jericho, Season 3: Civil War. This six issue series (and eventual IDW graphic novel) from the minds of Dan Shotz, Jason Burns, Matthew Federman, and Robert Levine and the artwork of Alejandro F. Giraldo, Matt Merhoff, and Michael Stribling gave fans everything they wanted to know about what happened after CBS shut them out. 

This series starts at the exact moment the show ended and transports the reader to the safety of Texas, where antagonists Jake Green and Robert Hawkins present evidence from the initial bombings that destroyed the United States. While there, mastermind John Smith, who needs their help, contacts Jake and Robert and they must decide how to venture into the future. 

There is at least a small flashback for those unfamiliar with the show, which will potentially open their eyes to the layered backstory from the show and the vile depths that a corrupt government would go for power. However, that also shows how comic series and the graphic novels were clearly written for the fans of the original show and filling in the gaps that remained after the cancellation. While the fan base of the classic show continues to grow, because of the material covered inside this series of books, a new reader may not be able to completely relate to what is going on unless they have digested the full backstory of the television series. 

Seeing the storyline evolve from television to comic form is powerful and thought provoking, with each issue acting as an episode of the show, even leaving off as a cliffhanger? From the ease of transitioning between issues, the influence of the shows experienced writing team is apparent. Unfortunately, because of the authentic feel and relationship to the source material, this graphic novel feels like it ended too soon, even if it was not able to truly capture the emotional feel of the show. 

The artwork throughout the series was amazing, and consistently captured the likeness of the characters throughout the season and portrayed the dismal atmosphere of the show surrounding the main antagonists in a believable way. More importantly for fans of the original show, the subtle imagery that was always present inside the town is still present. The only flaw with the artwork surrounds the new cast and characters that were sprinkled in, as they did not have the same detailed feel of the main cast members that came to life on the television. Of course, this could be the fan in me becoming overly critical and those minor elements do not hurt the overall product in any way. 

As a fan and a closet conspiracy theorist, Jericho Season 3: Civil War gave me enough answers to keep me intrigued, and leaving me to find Jericho Season 4 (released as a graphic novel in 2014) to find the answers to the cliffhanger. While this format may not truly capture the full emotional toll and detailed characterizations that helped propel Jericho into the hearts of fans, it is still a great way for the creative team of the landmark show to continue to build a following and keep those like me enthralled by the complex nature of the storyline.

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