Thursday, July 14, 2011

This would explain a lot, wouldn't it?


Sometimes, a story may have a perfectly good hook, but not be sure enough of it, and decide to throw something else in there as well. Like today's book: the Unseen Hand, written by Terry Laban, pencils by Ilya, inks by Ande Parks.

Young college student Mike Webb is doing pretty well for himself: 3.9 GPA, speaks five languages, and he plans to become an entrepreneur in the newly freed markets of the Soviet Union. (The story, like the series, is from 1996.) He has a meeting with his econ professor, Geldt (a signifying name...) who suggests perhaps everything Mike knows and everything Geldt teaches about economics may be a lie; that in fact there are no free markets. While Mike's father is "an old time liberal" who believes in market controls, Mike understands all sorts of things interfere with the free market--wars, government regulations, etc.

Geldt says, what if the free market itself is a lie? A ruse, perpetrated by a cabal controlling the world's monetary system. Mike scoffs at the idea that any group could respond to market forces efficiently enough, and Geldt asks if there was such a group, would he join it? Mike defers, saying any cabal that would include him couldn't be smart enough to run the world.

At a frat party that night, Mike is interrupted by news of his father, hit by a car. In the hospital, though, his father admits that he isn't, and that Mike was adopted. His real father was Conrad Dank, CEO of Global Oil, killed in an "accidental" plane crash twenty years ago. Moreover, the Dank family has been part of a multi-generational conspiracy, spanning five centuries, to control the world's resources. The "absurd notion that unregulated markets will be managed automatically by an 'unseen hand,'" was propaganda from their agent Adam Smith, a perfect cover, and became the group's name.

Conrad, after a case of heat stroke that may have been a religious experience, had intended to publish a book exposing the Unseen Hand. Although the book would've been easily discredited, the Hand felt Conrad was a traitor and arranged his death. Then an infant, Mike survived; along with his sister, Miranda. Mike didn't even know he had a sister; but now he has a mission: to find her, and to expose the Unseen Hand.
Ooh, nothing good will come of that...
Solid hook, huh? Unfortunately, I think the book bogs down a bit after Mike gets to the former Soviet Union; where most of the citizenry are cartoonishly struggling to get rich or die trying. Then there's Rasputin the III, a conjoined-twin seer and head of a plot to turn the clock back two hundred years (figuratively) and install a Czar on the throne; amongst other weirdness.

Still, an interesting read; although I'm not sure The Unseen Hand was ever collected. Give it a read if you see it, though.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Nice article Goo. This is a real departure from the standard super-hero fare, and there's nothing wrong with that. The discussion about the free market is relevant to today's financial climate, and its hard to not believe the Unseen Hand theory. After all, isn't what the NWO/Illuminati is?

Good stuff to make you think.