Advance Review: Embracing Every Liberal Cause In `Survival Street’ #3
by Tom Smithyman
A subtle as a sledgehammer, this young series feels like it’s already worn out its welcome. It started out as over-the-top satire, but somehow has escalated into something even more absurd and hard to read.
Comic books are no stranger to tackling important social issues. Throughout their history they have, either directly or through metaphors, addressed racism, homophobia, drug addition and spousal abuse. Much of the time, those topics are a side story as the good guys beat up the bad guys.
Survival Street is different though. In each issue, the series focuses on a key issue and creates outlandish situations and broad humor to make its point about what’s wrong in the world. Having taken on thorny issues like immigration and gun control, this extreme left-of-center series now sets its sites on environmentalism and the perpetual issue of fire safety in California as well as the notion that corporations are people.
These topics could easily come off as heavy handed, particularly when presented in comic books. But by setting the story in a fictional world where Sesame Street-like puppets are social justice warriors trying to fight the good fight, things are much more bearable. Still though, by this third issue, the idea is starting to wear thin.
The ideas from writers James Asmus and Jim Festante are getting stretched to the point where the farce is beginning to sound like a farce of itself. Take this situation from this installment: monopolies raise the cost of birth control, but militant pro-lifers force pregnant women to give birth. When those children are born, they’re taken from their jailed mother and became property of a private prison. The prison then sells the kid to a bank convicted of fraud. It’s…a lot. Even for liberals. That’s the point, of course, but it doesn’t make it an easy read.
Thankfully, Abylay Kussainov’s artwork makes the bitter pill easier to swallow. In addition to the usual characters ripped off from Sesame Street, this issue marks the debut of Elmo stand-in Milo. Milo has been living high on the hog, and spends his days sipping martinis while surrounding himself with his awards, his helicopter and stuffed versions of himself.
With one issue left in the limited series, there is still time to tone things down and put a bow on the story. More than likely, though, the creators will go in the opposite direction and go even bigger. Either way, it will be an interesting read.
Survival Street #3 will be available for purchase on October 5, 2022.