"The Order of the Forge #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Original Story by Donn D. Berdahl & Andy Briggs
Written by Victor Gischler
Illustrated by Tazio Bettin
2015, 24 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 29th, 2015
Plugging monsters and other horror elements into history has been all the rage for the past few years with titles such as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and the recent The Last American Vampire. The Order of the Forge joins that group, centering on George Washington. Based on an original story by Donn D. Berdahl and Andy Briggs, the comic follows the father of our country shortly after he chops down the legendary cherry tree. During this version, however, he hurls his ax into the woods in frustration, hitting a strange totem pole that empowers the weapon with magical powers.
This sounds pretty cool and it would be...if George Washington wasn't a complete douchebag. Writer Victor Gischler takes the president's adage of “I cannot tell a lie” to ridiculous levels. There's a difference between telling the truth and blurting out any thought that comes into your head. As such, Washington basically looks like he has Asperger's Syndrome, but since this is way before that was diagnosed, he's just labeled quirky. Somehow, Washington picks up a couple of friends in the form of Paul Revere and a lecherous Benjamin Franklin.
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The interaction between this trio is framed like fraternity brothers. They're constantly ragging on each other. At one point, one of them pours a chamber pot filled with urine on another. I think that was in one of the Van Wilder movies, right? I get that our forefathers weren't always these upstanding citizens framing the United States and that they were once stupid kids at one point, but this seems put in for cheap gags.
While Washington's personality leaves much to be desired, his skill with the ax cannot be questioned. This issue culminates in an amazing battle, brought to life by artist Tazio Bettin, in which we see just what that weapon is capable of. It hacks through flesh and bone with ease as Washington swings it without mercy. Rain pours down around him when he sinks the blade into a man's skull with a solid “THOK.”
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Meanwhile, Washington's mysterious employer, Lord Hammond, is up to no good. He's meeting behind closed doors and he's after a “secret weapon.” Seriously, that's what he says. It's not a priceless artifact or a strange relic filled with power. The man is literally looking for a “secret weapon.” I'm surprised he didn't put his pinky up like Dr. Evil at this point. The man has built a collection of items that would be at home within the halls of the B.P.R.D. and yet he can't think of a more interesting name than that.
The Order of the Forge throws together a handful of fun facts surrounding the Founding Fathers and tosses in a magic ax. Unfortunately, the ax is the most interesting thing about the book so far. That might be because it doesn't speak. At this rate, I expect Paul Revere to shout “The British are coming!” while exiting the brothel.