erasing clouds

by tonydoug wright

Rushmore (Masterpiece Comics 2005)

Writer: Ace Masters, Pencils/Inks: Nichx, Lettering: Michelle Fiorucci

Political thrillers usually follow the successful formula that places an average Joe/Jane in a situation where they discover a major secret that nobody should know or are witness to a murder of a top government official which leaves them on the run from the police or the military or the CIA. Eventually this average Joe/Jane is able to clear his or her name and they go back to living their everyday lives. Rushmore, written by Ace Masters, is a political thriller set in the 22nd Century that follows Jonathan Rushmore’s attempt to find out who set him up on charges of corruption and murder.

Jonathan Rushmore, a government official for an American space colony, finds himself to be the main suspect in a homicide case and the target of a military investigation. The military investigation is ordered by a high-ranking official who fears Rushmore knows too much about classified material. In order clear his name Rushmore must find out why he was framed and must prove to the authorities that he is not the murderer they are looking for. The military sends in their best soldiers under the direction of Colonel Irons to capture Rushmore for interrogation.

Rushmore may sound like an interesting political thriller but it is nothing more than an uninspired adventure that goes nowhere fast. Rushmore’s character is somewhat solid and he is a likeable hero. But the reason why he is being hunted for knowing too much is absolutely unoriginal. So what does he know that he should not know? That’s a good question and perhaps the writer Ace Masters should have shed some light on the giant mystery. Instead we are to feel sorry for some guy that knows too much about something that might be interesting.

The supporting cast is nothing more than a collection of insipid and underdeveloped characters. Colonel Irons, Rushmore’s nemesis, has potential to be a fantastic villain but he is nothing more than a clichéd adversary. Then we have Shakira, Rushmore’s secretary who dresses like a tramp, and Leanna, Rushmore’s girlfriend, who are portrayed as nothing more than helpless females who can do nothing but look pretty and ask questions. Then we have a mystery man who has all of the answers that will prove that Rushmore is innocent. Instead of being treated to a dangerous mystery man, we are treated to a total buffoon with a serious bragging problem.

While the characters leave a great deal to be desired the black and white artwork by Nichx leaves you wondering “Weren't there any other artists available for this project”? Rushmore takes place in the future on a distant planet, yet this futuristic space colony looks like a B-movie set in 1985 New Jersey instead of a 22nd century thriller. The setting for Rushmore is incredibly uninspired and unappealing, leaving the reader to desire something more creative and eye-catching.

Additionally, there are some grammatical and spelling errors in Rushmore. Apparently someone did not proofread the work of penciller Michelle Fiorucci; hopefully these have been corrected for the final printing.

Rushmore is a story with a great deal of potential, but it fails, due to a poor script and equally poor artwork. Ace Masters does have a decent concept but there is a need for some fine-tuning in order to make Rushmore a top-notch political thriller.

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