With little fanfare, a new comic book series hit Comixology today, but it's not likely to stay under the radar for long. Trump's Titans, published by Keenspot Comics, bills itself as "unbelievable presidential parody," but if you're looking for biting satire, that doesn't appear to be what the book has to offer.
Arguably, the barely hidden SS logo in the book's title is as critical as the book gets. Beyond that, the book seems to deliver unironically on the solicit's promise of "an alternate reality just slightly to the right of our own, where President Donald J. Trump is not only the most powerful man in the world, but the most powerful being in the universe!"
Though the comic mocks Trump's underlings and exaggerates Trump's already unbelievable personality, there doesn't seem to be any underlying message beyond what never amounts to more than playful needling of the Trump administration's quirks and eccentricities. How do we know? Because after reading the three page preview above, we shelled out the five bucks — yes, this 25-page comic costs five bucks — to see if there was any payoff.
Spoiler alert: there was not. Some more spoilers follow…
In Trump's Titans, we see President Trump punching out President Obama…
…in order to gain access to lost Reagan era technology that turns The Donald and his companions, Steve Bannon, Mike Pence, and Jared Kushner, into superheroes.
Trump puts his new powers to use fighting "globalists" in the Middle East.
Where he's invited to join them by their mysterious leader (who we're guessing is secretly Ivanka, based on how Trump hits on her):
And his wife, Melania, makes an appearance as well:
And their interaction epitomizes the book's primary flaw. Trump's behavior is outlandish and despicable (though arguably hardly more so than it is in real life), but there's no consequences; no comeuppance. For the kind of humor Trump's Titans seems to be going for, the success of the jokes relies on an implicit expression of purpose which is nowhere to be found in the book. When Trump says that women belong in the kitchen, we can read it as condemning that sort of obviously sexist belief. But it could just as easily be read as celebrating it, depending on the perspectives of the reader and the author.
There are a lot of Trump supporters who don't seem to have any problem with anything Trump does. His most recent approval ratings show 37% of all people think he's doing a good job. 79% percent of Republicans approve of Trump, even after his comments in the wake of the Charlottesville white supremacist rally. How many Trump supporters would cheer, without a hint of irony, for the idea of Trump punching out Obama? Trump's Titans takes no side in the debate.
As a result, it's impossible to tell whether the satire here is aimed at Trump and the right, or at the left's dismay over Trump's actions. And that makes it impossible to tell who the book's audience should be. And all of that reduces the book to little more than an SS logo prominently displayed on comiXology's website, pissing people off for no discernible reason.
Perhaps that's the author's intent. Perhaps the story's failure to punish Trump for his misdeeds is meta commentary on his seeming lack of consequences in real life. Maybe Trump's Titans' refusal to commit to a position on the subject matter it tackles represents the lack of responsibility accepted by others who profited while helping Trump rise to power, such as the media that reveled in the increased ratings and subscription numbers brought by the Trump media circus until about a month before the election, when they realized he might actually win. Or maybe it's exactly what it looks like: a fast and cheap cash grab, like a Bluewater/StormFront/TidalWave comic about Paula Deen, but with admittedly less frightening artwork.
As far as we can tell, there's no second issue of Trump's Titans scheduled for release anytime soon, though the book does promise a follow-up called Trump's Titans Vs. Fidget Spinner Force #1. Maybe there's a payoff planned for some point in the future that will make the book's intentions clearer, but it isn't present in Trump's Titans #1. We could ask the creator, John Barron, but he almost certainly doesn't exist — John Barron was the name Trump famously used while pretending to be his own publicist.
And as the book makes explicitly clear, nobody else involved is willing to take any responsibility for it:
There's room for a good Trump satire comic out there, but Trump's Titans, at least so far, isn't it. If you want to form your own opinion on the book, you can find it on comiXology.