Monday, May 18, 2009

Supernatural: Rising Son

In my previous review of Supernatural: Origin, the graphic novel that tells John’s story of becoming a hunter after Mary’s death, I talked about liking the story, but not the art. This follow up, Rising Son, is just the opposite.

As for the tale…Chapter 1 begins Christmas Eve of 1990. John’s lost his job and been evicted from their hotel. If that’s not bad enough, the letter he mailed to Mary’s cousin, Eddie, comes back “return to sender.” Ever since his wife died, Mary’s friends, family and co-workers have been disappearing. But Eddie’s always stayed on John’s grid until now. Concerned, John and the boys hit the road and take a detour down Old Route 25 where John arrives in sex city. The small town is populated by stunning women who are all too happy to give him their undivided attention. Eddie’s there and warns John to get out, but he’s nearly seduced by a succubus. When he fights back the Succubi turn into his dead wife and poor John ends up slaughtering a bar full of Mary’s. Eddie is murdered before John can rescue him. The Winchesters takes off, while a mysterious woman follows John’s trail looking for Sammy.

Chapter 2 hits on stuff we learned from John Winchester’s Journal. John decides maybe it’s best to settle down for awhile, give the boys some normalcy. Sam makes friends right away and gets a lot of attention from his pretty teacher, Ms. Lyle. Dean, on the other hand, is lonely and miserable. When Ms. Lyle turns her attention to John they start to look like a real family. Then Ms. Lyle ends up taking Sammy to a science fair, but a suspicious Dean warns his dad there’s something wrong with her. He’s right. John’s been sleeping with a demon and she’s actually brought Sammy to the crossroads to take him into another dimension. John battles her and a transformer made from railroad parts. This rail-robot seems very out of place in a SPN story, but it’s kicking John’s bootay.

Chapter 3 has Dean exorcising the demons and the boys running to Bobby’s. Bobby tells John to visit Silas, a blind seer, who may be able to tell him why Sammy is special. John’s visit rouses Silas from a coma he’s been in since the date of Mary’s death. He confirms that Sam is special, but doesn’t say why, only that John and Dean need to be prepared. Taking his advice to heart, John takes Dean on a deer hunt to sharpen his skills, but the twelve year old is scared and unsure. In the end, Sammy sneaks away from Bobby’s and makes the kill. When John asks how Sammy got there he said some guy in a black car dropped him off. Shaken, John leaves Sammy with Silas so he can, hopefully, learn more about what makes him different. While they have their private confab, he and Dean go out for burgers and John explains to his eldest son how much he needs him and trusts him. On their way back to Sammy, they see the mysterious black car. That doesn’t bode well. Sure enough, Silas is dead. The words KILL HIM are painted in blood on his kitchen wall.

Chapter 4 reveals that the driver of the black car is an albino hunter named Anderson, who not only believes Sam killed Silas, but that he’s evil and “destined to raise an army of darkness against the world.” In the end, Dean ends up shooting Anderson and Sam tells his dad “you need to kill me.” The chapter ends with John taking Sam up on a hill to watch the sun come up, for just a minute we’re led to believe he’s considering shooting his son, but, of course, he doesn’t.

In Chapter 5, John brutally hunts down Anderson’s cohorts and then holes up in Daleville, Mississippi with the boys. He plans to stand and fight anyone else who comes for Sam. It doesn’t take long before they’re surrounded, but this time it’s not hunters. It’s demons. The Winchesters manage to escape with a poorly executed plan and they learn Ms. Lyle is really called Lilith. John then dumps a very pissed off Dean and still clueless Sam at his friend’s house. The boys are stuck with Pam, while dear old dad goes off to find Lilith. If only John had realized his friend, is actually a demon. (sigh)

In Chapter 6 we find more sexuality and stupidity. Pam lets Ms. Lyle into the house. Looking like porn star, she’s there to reclaim Sam. Dean tells his little brother to run while he fights off Lilith, who kisses Dean after he calls her a bitch.(Ew, ew, ew!) Fortunately, John shows up in the nick of time. Dean sets fire to Lilith and Dad chops off her head. Black smoke whirls away and the Winchesters are safe.

The story ends with a grown up Dean showing up at Stanford to find his little brother.

Okay, while I thoroughly enjoyed Diego Olmos’s artwork, I found myself annoyed with the story. Sure, it was cool to see how Dean came to be the hunter he is, and I loved the introduction to Bobby (whose cartoonization had the strongest resemblance to the actor), but the majority of the time I had this thought in my head: John Winchester is too stupid to live. Perhaps his brain was fogged by all the sexual undertones in the story, but I wanted to smack him for all his stupid mistakes. Granted, he’s a newbie, but I didn’t think it was in character for him to repeatedly be an idjit. That said, the best part of this graphic novel came in the last four pages where Kripke himself made his comic debut by co-writing The Beast with Two Backs, a hilarious GhostFacers bonus story that pokes fun at Sam and Dean.


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I'm with you on this one. I hated the story, too. I found it completely incompatible with the TV show. I don't believe John had ANY idea Sam was what he was. I think Sam would have remembered the events and known well before he found out on the show that there was something going on with him. And Lilith? Hel-LO! She was trapped in hell until the end of season 2 when Azazel got the gate open! Not that we knew that particular detail for sure until now. :)