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He's the ultimate American hero. Since the fifties, he has been a symbol of hope and courage for the entire nation, an indestructible one-man army standing tall for freedom, justice, and the American way - but what about truth? When reporter Dennis Hough is assigned to cover a story about his boyhood hero, he begins to see the cracks in the legend. Does The American have feet of clay? Or is he himself a victim of a larger conspiracy? Created by screenwriter Mark Verheiden (The Mask, Smallville), The American wowed comics critics with it's savvy mixture of gritty realism, cultural commentary, and dark humor set against the all too real backdrop of an America polarized into ideological camps standing off across an ever-widening gulf of mistrust and media distortion. Now, collected in its entirety for the first time (including hard-to-find American short stories), The American rises again, a cautionary tale perhaps even more relevant in today's politically divided America.
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Patriotic superhero Captain America came into being in the early 1940s when the government, according to the comics, scientifically created a supersoldier for World War II. But what if a later, less-benignant government devised a flag-waving superhero for nefarious propagandistic purposes? That premise powers The American, a creation from the tail end of the 1980s that placed its red-white-and-blue-clad protagonist in a post-Watergate milieu. A shadowy government agency led by a PR professional has fashioned hundreds of identical, genetically enhanced Americans and replaces those who die on impossibly dangerous missions to foster the illusion of indestructibly embodied national might and endurance. When hard-bitten, alcoholic reporter Dennis Hough discovers the truth, he battles to blow the lid off the operation. Verheiden, who was inspired by Iran-Contra to create the character, went on to a successful screenwriting career, including The Mask and TV's Smallville. n the current climate of growing disillusionment because of governmental prevarication, the time seems right for this collection and, perhaps, for new stories featuring Verheiden's prescient creation. Gordon Flagg
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