The notoriously crime ridden city of Cincinnati, Ohio has a new guardian angel in the form a squeegee wielding superhuman. “The Squeeg,” a new comic book from writer David Lieto, artist Tom Gringberg and colorist Gregory Wright, explores a mans journey into heroism and his fight against scum.
Jake Green, the secret identity of the Squeeg, is a man whose wife was struck with a car leaving him with no reason to live. He spent his whole life looking out for himself and himself only, but after the death of his love he spirals into a depression and ponders if anything he has ever done matters. He attempts suicide but is soon saved by a homeless man who shows him how to make money by wiping windshields in the streets.
The villain of the story, Schmutz, gets into a scuffle with Jake over who should be able to wash windshields with extraordinary squeegee. The fight ends with them both being struck by lightening while holding the squeegee, granting them magical powers. Jake uses his newfound abilities of controlling metal, creating bubbles, and teleporting. Schmutz, on the other hand, is turned into a muck monster who creates a zombie army that dwells in the sewer, preparing to take over the whole city of Cincinnati.
While Jake must defend the city from these mind controlled zombies, he must also battle with the mob controlled business he was once working for as well as those who are responsible for the death of his fiancé. Which at the end of the story leads into a cliffhanger and potential for a series of “The Squeeg” books. The comic plays out at least a dozen superhero clichés while still seeming moderately fresh and new due to the quickness in which the story progresses and Lieto’s investment in the character’s backgrounds, no matter how ridiculous they appear on the surface.
The comic is adapted from what was originally a screenplay by Lieto that was changed into a short eight-page strip to help sell the film. The pages were released online and they made a splash in the community for their humorous nature and sense of fun and freshness. While the premise of “The Squeeg” is definitely off beat, the way it is executed is more in the style of a traditional and emotional superhero drama.
When picking up “The Squeeg” it appears to be a comic that is self- aware and potentially hilarious by poking fun at and harping on played out superhero tropes. Instead, the book simply continues the tradition of superhero tropes, underplaying the humor of the situation and creating real drama and inadvertent clichés. Leaving the audience to wonder whether a story about a man who fights crime by wielding a squeegee is any more ridiculous than a boy being bitten by a radioactive spider or a nuclear explosion gone wrong leaving one with magical powers.
The pages, drawn by famous artist Grindberg also lends to a more dramatic and realistic feel. The artwork is heavy and the shadowing creates a deeper and more realistic feel against a hilarious plotline and bubble-creating squeegee-wielding superhero.
The comedy element was expected to fill the majority of the pages but simply seeps in at times leading to confusion towards the tone of the story. Lieto has created a truly great concept with an in-depth universe and a relatable cast of characters. However, while he delivers on the drama and tension that keeps the reader interested, he falls short on playing out the humor.