Comic Review - Political Power: Barack Obama


Political Power: Barack Obama is a Bluewater Comics release, which is written by Chris Ward, with fully painted artwork by Azim Akberal. The 28-page comic was released on September 9th, 2009, and cost $3.99.

The Story

The comic is a biography of Barack Obama, looking at how he rose from humble beginnings to become the 44th president of the United States, and the country’s first Black President.

The comic covers all the major events in Obama’s life, from his parents’ first meeting, his upbringing in Hawaii and Indonesia, his years as a Chicago community organizer, his years as a State Senator, to his running for President of the United States, and eventual victory against John McCain.

The story is told in a somewhat unique fashion, as a conversation between Chris Ward, the writer and narrator of the story, and the ghost of Abraham Lincoln. This is because Chris Ward is a resident of Springfield, Illinois, where Obama spent eight of his formative years in the State Senate, and was also home to Abraham Lincoln for 25 years of his life.

The Rating

First, I should state up-front that while I am a supporter of Barack Obama, I’m not a big fan of the Obama-mania that has swept through the comic industry in the last year. Mainly because of how tacky it is, everyone wants to cash in on the Obama craze, by sticking his face on all their comics. If you though Obama meeting Spider-Man was silly, then wait till you see him fighting alongside Ash from The Evil Dead, and there’s even a comic out there called Obama the Barbarian, which has him battling Sarah Palin, the warrior princess!!!!! This biography comic is part of Bluewater’s Political Power series, which also includes biographies of John McCain, Colin Powell, Joe Biden, and more. The series is actually a spin-off of the ‘Female Force’ line, which include biographies of Hilary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Stephanie Meyer (what?), and others. While I think it is pretty sexist to give men and women different lines, nothing compares to their ‘Puppy Power’ line, which includes a biography of Bo Obama… yes, the Obama family puppy! I am not even joking!

Anyway, before I get into a tirade about how much I hate these cash-in comics, my original point is that I was sent this comic for review, and I have treated it like every other comics I have ever reviewed, in a professional manner, and will not let my distaste of the medium prejudice my rating.

The writing in the book is actually pretty decent. I mean, it’s hardly going to win any awards, but it’s by no means terrible. Many of these Obama comics are rather preachy, casting Obama as some sort of superhuman, and this comic actually makes a mockery of this treatment, by having a scene with Obama dressed up in a costume, reenacting the cover to Action Comics #1. The comic is full of amusing moments like this, particularly in the somewhat bizarre scenes between Ward and Abraham Lincoln. These moments actually act to break the comic up a bit, and lighten the mood, making it a much more entertaining read than your average biography comic. Ward has also done some thorough research for the story, and has included his references at the back of the book. There are a few facts which are sourced from Wikipedia, which sometimes worries me, but he also has both of Obama’s own books in there, as well as a handful of biographies and campaign retrospectives.

The artwork is where this book really shines though. The artist for the project is Azim Akberal, a Tanzanian artist, who is relatively new to the comic industry. Akberal specializes in fully painted artwork, which verges on photorealism, and utilizes these skills to create some amazing artwork that is absolutely perfect for this project. His artwork is incredibly detailed, with some beautiful brushwork, and wonderful use of colour! You don’t tend to see very many people painting comics, especially those working with actual brushes, and not on a Wacom Intuous/Cintiq. The obvious example is Alex Ross, and I would definitely put the artwork here on a par with Ross’ art. It’s not quite the same style, as Ross tends to favour a slightly ‘shiny’ look, but in terms of technique and skill, Akberal is just as talented. Expect to see his artwork popping up in other comics soon!

Political Power: Barack Obama actually surprised me, by being a rather readable, and quite unique, look at the life of Barack Obama, which didn’t at all come off as hero worshiping. The story is brought to life with some breathtaking artwork and stunning visuals, by a brilliant new artist. If you are in the market for an Obama biography comic (and there are a lot out there), you could do a lot worse than to pick this one up.

Overall Rating:

Artwork only Rating:

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2 Responses to “Comic Review - Political Power: Barack Obama
  1. Emma says:

    Beautiful artwork! Never seen anything like this since Alex Ross. I’ll definitely be looking forward to seeing more of Azim’s comics.

  2. Edward Kaye says:

    Yeah, I was incredibly impressed, he’s definitely very talented!

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