Howard Chaykin has always styled himself as a snarky and provocative critic of the American Reality. He is both gadfly and confessor. In The Divided States of Hysteria, he goes all in, using familiar characters and targets and lack of restraint. He tells us right away what this story is all about:
“Unable to raise their eyes from their self-mythologizing, self-serving, self-obsession to shake off the post-crisis malaise and move on to whatever shitstorm lies ahead.”
From there he pulls no punches. Once again, Chaykin courts controversy, has no desire to be politically correct, and will gleefully point out the hypocrisy of every stripe. If the intent is to piss you off, then the debut issue is a roaring success. The horrible and profane are here to save the world. Get used to it.
There are callbacks to American Flagg and Black Kiss, but the problem is that for all the commentary on the state of the nation and ruthless inflammatory characterizations, will there be a worthy story beneath it all? That remains to be seen. Still, there’s nobody like him and stylistically his art is sharp and evocative.