Writer: Rick Vietch
Artist: Gary Erskine
Publisher: Image Comics
Ten years ago the Twin Towers fell at the hands of terrorist extremists via hijacked commercial airline jet-planes. Many lives were lost in this tragedy and at that point in time, it seemed we had all the evidence we needed to ignite a second war in the Middle East against Iraq. But did we really? Was there more to this attack than we suspect, and if so, should some of the blame fall on our own elected officials? Writer Rick Veitch and artist Gary Erskine clearly express their First Amendment rights within the comics medium as they try to answer some of those questions in this collaboration from Image Comics.
So here’s the set-up: the widow of a businessman killed during the 9/11 strike on the Twin Towers helps to develop a time-travel mechanism which sends her back to the morning of September 11, 2001. She then attempts to warn her husband and all the execs he is having a business meeting with about their impending doom before it is too late. Only, these aren’t any execs—these are film producers who are trying to work out the budget for the next mega-budget Hollywood film. (The names “Stephen” and “Lucas” are mentioned repeatedly.) Since the special effects which they must achieve include the destruction of a skyscraper for the film’s finale, when the irate widow shows up with her evidence of the 9/11 attack on an iPad, they think somebody is pranking them. The body of the comic consists of hopeless back-and-forth dialogue, as the woman struggles to persuade them not only that the attack is going to happen, but that it is some giant conspiracy manufactured by the U.S. Government!
No matter which side of the political spectrum you might find yourself on, this comic deliberately challenges the reader to ask some rather uncomfortable questions about 9/11. It is clearly making out the Bush Administration to be “The Big Bad” and presents a good heft of information at the back of the book that you can look into if you so choose. But personally, as interesting as some of the arguments are, I find the whole thing a bit too preachy for my tastes, steamrolling over some common sense questions in favor of sensationalism. I’ll admit I’m not the most well-versed person when it comes to politics and White House affairs, but I also consider myself a fair judge of character for the most part. (I’ll readily admit that Bush wasn’t the greatest President, but neither is our current one—and I give them both the benefit of the doubt.) Therefore, I find any “entertainment” that hits me over the head with one agenda or another (despite how it might align with my own views) to be artistically inferior. Had creators Veitch and Erskine created a different vehicle for these arguments that held up better as a narrative, I might have better favored their plight. Bottom line: Getting preached at ain’t all that much fun.
The timing of this book also couldn’t be more controversial, coming out the same week as the 10th Anniversary of 9/11… I mean, I can’t think of a more inappropriate way to honor the lives of those lost in one of our country’s biggest tragedies than by pointing the blame directly at the U.S. Government, can you? How patriotic!
To sum it all up, “The Big Lie” fails to impress as an engaging story but offers some interesting and thought-provoking fodder for any die-hard conspiracy theorist. Again, I do appreciate what the creators are trying to pull off here, but unfortunately they decided not to stay objective and presented some inconsistencies as “fact.” That, to me, is the biggest lie here…