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Comic Book / The Life and Times of Savior 28

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"Well, that'll happen."

"It's funny, y'know? And kind of sad. Never once... in all the decades I spent solving every problem with my fists — did anyone ever accuse me of preaching violence. But now... when I talk about finding another way... a better way... for us to live... they're always accusing me of ramming my views down people's throats..."
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The Life and Times of Savior 28 is a miniseries published by IDW, written by J.M. DeMatteis and drawn by Michael Cavallaro. Savior 28, a Captain Ersatz of Superman and Captain America, has been called the Avatar of Liberty for 60 years. His real name is Jimmy Smith and he is 102 years old, even though he still looks to be 35. However, Savior 28 has finally decided to stop fighting for justice with violence and become a Pacifist. Of course, being an Actual Pacifist and a Technical Pacifist are two different things. Also, there are supervillains eager for his blood, superheroes who wonder whether he's an evil impostor, and his former sidekick, who narrates the whole tragic tale. Dennis McNulty, formerly the Daring Disciple, assassinates Savior 28 midway through the first issue.

The miniseries is based on an idea J.M. DeMatteis had for Captain America in the early 1980s, where Cap would decide to become an advocate for peace and eventually get assassinated. After 30 years and Cap's own (temporary) death, DeMatteis wanted to use the miniseries to explain how fruitless the use of violence can be in solving conflict, in general and specifically in superhero comic books.

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  • The Alcoholic: Smith's problem with alcohol is mentioned quite often.
  • Beware the Superman: "But my employers knew there was nothing funny about a raging alcoholic with a history of mental illness... who just happened to be powerful enough to take the whole damn country, maybe even the whole damn world, down with him."
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • Savior 28 has a lot in common with both Superman and Captain America. There's a bit of Captain Marvel in there as well. The three vastly different origins (aliens, government experiment, the Spirit of America) he has told cloud the issue even more.
    • Hadrach the Lemurian seems to be a mix of the Sub-Mariner and Swamp Thing.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: Savior 28 altered his costume over the years to fit the times. McNulty mocks his love beads in the '60s and black leather in the '80s.
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  • Comic-Book Time: Averted, as Savior 28 has been around for 60 years but hasn't aged.
  • Cut Short: This was originally going to be a six-issue miniseries. The removal of one issue leaves questions about certain bits of dialog and plotlines.
  • Dating Catwoman: Savior 28 and Queen Shakti.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: We get to see the life and times of Savior 28.
  • Evil Counterpart: Savior 13. They both got their powers from The Master Stone.
  • Evil Knockoff: Savior 13
  • Femme Fatale: Queen Shakti
  • Fallen Hero: Right before his assassination, we see that Savior 28 has fallen out of favor with the public. We learn how in issue 5.
  • Flying Brick: Savior 28 has the basic flight, strength, invulnerability set of powers. He gets them from the Master Stone.
  • Good Is Old-Fashioned: Savior 28 was seen as outmoded or an "establishment tool" by the counterculture movement of the 1960s. Savior 28 himself sees violence as old fashioned, saying it goes back to the ancient myths and the Old Testament. He wants to find a better way.
  • Green Rocks: The Master Stone itself. The final issue reveals that The Master Stone is somehow the only thing that can "fatally" hurt Savior 28. Savior 13 once nearly killed him with a dagger made of the stone. Dennis uses bullets made from his piece of the Master Stone to finally murder Savior 28.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Dennis McNulty's opinion about humanity.
  • Identity Impersonator: McNulty filled in as Savior 28 while Smith was catatonic after World War II, at the request of President Truman. McNulty says Jimmy saw him as an impostor, but Dennis isn't the most reliable narrator.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: McNulty says that if someone treated every death as if they "really mattered", he would go catatonic. Savior 28 goes catatonic after helping free Buchenwald in his civilian identity.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: While we see various real-world celebrities and historical figures, including Franklin D. Roosevelt and Orson Welles, Dennis McNulty looks a lot like Jack Kirby. Artist Mike Cavallaro himself has said he didn't intend McNulty to look like Kirby, instead trying to go for James Cagney and Leo Gorcey. "So yes, Dennis does kinda look like Jack Kirby. But he also kinda looks like James Cagney with maybe a little Leo Gorcey, which is what I was really shooting for," Cavallaro says. "No attempt was made by either J.M. nor [me] to draw any connection between Jack Kirby's beliefs and those of the character, Dennis McNulty."
  • Odd Friendship: James Smith was good friends with Orson Welles.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: Whether it is more about doing good or feeding one's ego is brought up.
  • Show Within a Show: Various movies and serials were done about Savior 28, usually ending in a climactic battle with Savior 13.
  • Sidekick: Dennis McNulty's original job as the Daring Disciple.
  • Super Hero Origin: We never get a full origin of Savior 28 and how he got the Master Stone. The three versions we're given all at once are drastically different. Dennis comments that most origins are bogus and the heroes themselves don't even know.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: The dilemma of Savior 28's peace movement, especially with the War on Terror just getting started.
  • Unreliable Narrator: McNulty may be projecting a lot of his own issues with himself onto Savior 28.


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