Advance Review: No One is Safe in `Survival Street’ #4

by Tom Smithyman


Oh how the mighty have fallen! What started out as a fresh take in the evils that exist in American culture quickly turned into a moralizing, over-the-top farce that has worn out its welcome after four issues. The artwork is a saving grace, but the story will strain the patience of even the most liberal among us.


How does a limited series that started with such great promise pivot quickly and end with a thud? Frankly, it’s a bit of a mystery, but Survival Street manages to achieve it.

The series started out fresh by using thinly veiled familiar children’s characters from Sesame Street become true social justice warriors. Literally warriors. They took on the racism behind illegal immigration in Florida. They battled the gun lobby in Texas. And they fought against climate deniers in California. All the while, painting the right as true evil doers.

While there’s likely a lot of truth in what writers James Asmus and Jim Festante were saying, the over-the-top manner in which they said it got old quickly. The bad guys – personified by Fawkes, the owner of Fawkes News – were so evil, so despicable that they were literally just caricatures. And the constant bashing of corporate America, including Nestle and Disney, became tired by the second issue.

All of that is present in this concluding chapter as well, though not to the extent of the last few issues. In an attempt to wrap up the story, the writers focused more on action – a bloodbath at a children’s park featuring comic versions of Clint Eastwood and Charlton Heston – than on social commentary. And they wrap things up with what should come off as a poignant letter to sum up the series. It’s too little too late. Perhaps instead of a series, an oversized one-shot would have been forced the writers into making better storytelling choices.

Artist Abylay Kussainov continues his track record of story visuals. Kussainov’s style works perfectly for this story. It may not the most beautiful comic ever drawn but completely appropriate given the subject matter.

In the letter from one puppet to another that has turned to the dark side, we read: “There are too many people racing to the bottom.” That point is spot on. But in trying to tell the story this way, Survival Street seemed like it was trying to win that race.

Survival Street #4 will be available for purchase on November 2, 2022.


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