AMERICAN DREAMS #2 – A Clash of Magic and History

American Dreams #2, courtesy of Short Fuse Media
Hello muscles

Greetings Soda Drinkers! Coming at you with another comic review, this time a little series by Short Fuse Comics called American Dreams. For the purpose of this review I will be talking about issues #2, as you can see above, but I will give a small recap of issue #1 so that we are all caught up to speed.

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The Start of Our Tale

So what IS American Dreams precisely? With the opening of issue #1 we are introduced to New York City circa 1900. A bustling of immigrants attempting to find a slice of the, well, American Dream for themselves. We settle in this city on one Jake Gold, a jewish man sketching ontop of a rooftop watching over his younger brother. They banter a bit about the working life, we get a little glimpse at Jake’s wider family, then having the scene shift to the abode of JP Morgan.

This happens a lot in the comic with a great many famous historical personage just appearing in the narrative. In fact, the other notable figure in this scene is one Thomas Edison.

The three of them, there is another guy but he doesn’t seem as important, as discussing the energy crisis. Not one happening then, the one that’ll happen in the future when crude oil is depleted (pretty topical, all things considered). As such Thomas proclaims that the “energy experiment” is on schedule in central park. One that’ll allow them to “harness the power of the stars.”

Fast forward through the issue a bit, the actual experiment (designed by Tesla, apparently) goes off and imbues many inhabitants with some sort of cosmic force. Jake Gold is one of these individuals, being involved a bit of a turf war between gangs, where he flies away (yes flies) exuberant at these new found abilities. Although not all is as it seems, as Thomas discovers as his assistant begins to speak of one R’lyeh which is a famous city of Cthulu mythos…

And now to the present

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Yep, just a totally normal thing to have happen
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...okay maybe not

These two pages essentially sum up what is happening to young Jake. He was zapped with otherworldly energy, the spirit of America went “Okay this is going to get weird, need a champion”, and bingo bango she choose Jake for the role. He has some trepidation about it, I mean its a pretty weird situation to find yourself in, but soon enough he gets real comfortable with the idea of it.

But there is a problem when one is imbued with fantastical powers. This too is succinctly summed up in the comic:

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Now by modern standards, the conundrum he faces here is a pretty easy one to solve. “Just do it” as the memes go. But different times, different values, as well as different priorities are at play here. Regardless of his crisis of purpose, he is soon called upon to save the people of a sweatshop is he working in from a fire. Which, naturally, was caused by his negligent and frankly quite racist boss.

Who gets decked when its all said and done, which I found to be quite nice.

After this little adventure though, Jake finds himself out of a job with still a bunch of questions on what he is suppose to be doing. This leads him to his sister, working as a seamstress in a theater, which then leads him to encountering one Harry Houdini. Seeing the lad’s strength for himself, it prompts him to offer Jake an opportunity to work in show business.

Meanwhile, in another part of town…

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Well that is something you don’t see everyday.

As the Spirit of America mentioned, some people that were imbued with powers are of the “bad” variety. Here we see but two, a man with claws for hands and an electric man. Both of who got into a tussle, which was interrupted by glowy eyes here. Uttering a spell, the fight is broken up pretty easily.

The two men are, reasonably, confused and a little bit pissed at the interruption. Which I have to say, if a man comes out of nowhere sprouting tentacles out of the floor, I’d be a little more terrified than pissed. Regardless! We aren’t given a name to bowler hat here, but he proclaims that he works for a “master”. That these two men have been blessed by the white light, the sign of “their” (I can only assume its a cult) gods, and they are being recruited. But by whom?

In this corner, Whom

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Well he looks stable.

Another semi-famous historical figure, Aleister Crowley is a rather famous cultist in American history. He is written all kinds of books on the subject of magic, occultism, even convinced people that he was a prophet meant to guide humanity to some holy event at the advent of the 20th century.

It remains to be seen what his involvement with the comic will be, but suffice it to say its nothing good.

Closing Thoughts

All and all I enjoyed the comic. It combines three of my favorite subjects of fictional writing (urban fantasy, Cthulhu, and Superheroism) in one neat tidy package. Given that it is a floppy comic a certain expediency is needed in order to set up the narrative. But now that the foundation has been laid, I could see this comic really popping off. All that remains is to wait and see how it all shapes up!

If you want to follow along with the adventure of American Dreams, why not pick up a copy for yourself? You can find them at the Short Fuse Media site, Comixology, or order it from your local comic book store.

Every little bit helps them out and when they succeed, we all succeed with more comics to read. With that, cheers to you dear reader, and I’ll see you in the next review!