Many cultural icons are lone wolf types who shun help and accomplish sometimes seemingly impossible tasks, drawing on their own talent and ingenuity. Writer Geoff Johns teamed up with Gary Frank to create a fascinating character in his latest comic, “Geiger” that is a lone wolf, and yet more. As compelling as this dystopian adventure is for its surreal atmosphere, the personality of the eponymous character is even more fascinating.
Not a Typical Lone Wolf
Tariq Geiger is not anyone’s usual renegade loner. He loves his family deeply, and the only reason he is wandering alone in a landscape devastated by humans themselves through nuclear war is because he cannot safely open his family’s shelter and return to them. He has superpowers that render him immune to the deadly radiation, but his loved ones do not. Therefore, he works to keep them safe in a wild world of raiders and looters venturing out to see what they can steal and ravage.
In some respects, Geiger has no choice but to be a lone wolf in such dramatic and horrifying circumstances. Yet, he is not violent and uncaring and truly removed as are other loner characters. He is no Mad Max or Alice, surviving in a zombie-infested nightmare. A notable point of this and other dystopian stories is that Geiger is responding to a disaster created by human arrogance and violence without drowning in impotent fury but rather by functioning with cold, steely purpose.
Connection to the Writer
The character of Geiger has some important things in common with Geoff Johns. First, he is partly of Arab ancestry, as is Johns. The comic writer has a family whom he loves dearly, as his character does. Again like Geiger, writer Johns had to adjust to a sudden shift in his life. For Johns, he lost a beloved family member in a sudden accident, while Geiger must deal with a world destroyed by human choice and left rough and empty and almost hopeless. Geiger’s love and loyalty are the real heroes of this comic strip, for they do not dim and are the shining beacons in the bleak landscape.
John’s new comic draws from multiple powerful images — the brooding violent danger of “The Hills Have Eyes,” the raggedly brutal hero in “True Grit,” the desolate landscape of “Mad Max.” Just as in Stephen King’s “The Stand,” too, this comic involves Las Vegas. However, the desert city is not set as the destination for fighting the ultimate evil, but rather as a conglomeration of ruins ruled by petty-minded criminals who apparently do not mind the world is destroyed as long as they can make a profit. Wandering through the grim Nevada desert, Geiger offers readers a relatable hero who has retained his humanity in a brutal situation rife with the worst traits people have.
While Geiger has to function alone because of his situation, his superpowers help him protect those he loves more than his own life. He defends them against the worst acts and behaviors of society, and his love only grows stronger even though they are separated. Tariq Geiger is ultimately a fascinating character study of both the self-sufficient loner and a loving husband and father as much as the comic is an entertaining adventure.