The Few TPB Review
By John Saavedra
Sean Lewis and Hayden Sherman’s The Few might be the most timely comic book series on shelves. While its dystopian vision of America isn’t exactly new, it’s exploration of how certain groups decide whether others are worthy of the country’s riches is important. The world of The Few, in which the U.S. has been divided into lawless feudal territories, most of them badlands, while one part of the country thrives with endless resources, is a scary look into our own possible future.
A very clear one percent of citizens enjoy the Palace and everything the country has to offer them, including clean water, a luxury not many people in the land formerly known as the United States still have. The rest of the people are forced to fight it out as Mad Max-style motor gangs and many of them have developed a taste for murder.
Most of the story takes place in Montana, much of which is controlled by an evil tyrant named Herrod and his gang of thugs. Lewis takes clear inspiration from the Biblical story of Herod, the Roman king of Judea who ordered a country-wide infanticide in order to kill Jesus Christ, whom he feared would supplant him as the king of the Jewish people. There is also a baby at the center of The Few, and his story does have a bit to do with the Bible tale, but I won’t spoil that here.
Lewis and Sherman’s approach to the disintegration of American society — or perhaps the realization of its darkest tendencies — is a minimalist portrait of whites and reds, the thick snows of Montana covered in the blood of innocents and scum alike. The book starts with an incredible act of violence and doesn’t really relent for the rest of the book. This is a gruesome, merciless story about survivors left hanging on the very edge of reason. All of the characters have chosen their sides, and those left in the middle die in the constant wars between the different factions.
Main character Edan is complex. She is never quite what she seems, once a loyal protector of the Palace, now forced to make it in Montana with those she once considered enemies of the state. Worst of all, she’s sworn to protect a baby that isn’t her own. We watch Edan transform from a single-minded cog of war to someone who begins to see the cracks in her society. Her story is really captivating.
Sherman’s art is really a sight to behold. It’s gritty, with touches of detail that give his world a lot of personality. The moments of violence are highlights of Sherman’s style. His skeletal drawings add a sort of primal quality to the brutality of the book. I’m not sure another artist could have pulled off the very dark tone of the book. It’s clear that Lewis and Sherman had a specific vision for this book and they certainly deliver it to great effect.
If you’ve been watching the news lately, following the riots and the growing divisions in our country, The Few is a twisted look at the possible consequences of all that hatred. A country depleted of humanity, a nation gone mad.
The Few TPB
Writer: Sean Lewis
Artist: Hayden Sherman
Publisher: Image Comics
Out August 23, 2017