A doddering old woman sewing a flag. A man flying a kite with a key attached to it in the middle of a storm. A man who cannot tell a lie. History has made men and women long dead, dusty remnants of a time that never existed. But these people had to have had some level of bravery and boldness to be a part of founding a nation. They must have been risk takers, they had to be young. In Donn D. Berdahls’ creation and Victor Gischer’s script “The Order of the Forge” chronicles a time of a young, brash George Washington and how he got the reputation as not being able to tell a lie.
Of course, it all starts with a brazen, mindless choice and an axe. Imbuing him with mystical abilities, melds fact with fiction. In reality, Washington was known to be strong and a good horseman. Like any good writer Gischer takes advantage of these known truths about what made the first president admired by so many. Imagine a tall, honest manly man who knows how to handle a weapon leading the country. But first you need to see him being molded before he became the myth. Of course, there must be sidekicks and a beautiful woman. Benjamin Franklin, infamous for his inventions and womanizing and Paul Revere best known for being a good rider join forces with a young Washington. Then there’s beautiful Kate Hammond, the so-called half-breed who is the niece of the villain in this story. But lord Hammond is not of any real interest. What makes “Forge” a solid read is the way it explains history without being didactic.
In the series “Sleepy Hollow,” Ichabod Crane who was a spy and fought for Washington during the revolutionary war has given tidbits of these historical figures through a supernatural lens. Most of Franklin’s inventions were meant to deal with baddies of an otherworldly nature. In season three Betsy Ross is a spy and Paul Revere’s dental practice is a ruse for his real job of getting rid of entities that go bump in the night. In one episode, Revere uses his equipment to eliminate a demon who steals the souls of children through the teeth they lose. In a sense, you find out why children got silver dollars for a lost tooth. It’s a means to protect the young. In an earlier episode the phrase “don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes” is also cleverly explained. The same thing that’s happening in “Sleepy Hollow” is what’s occurring in “The Order of the Forge.” History is finally becoming interesting.
In order to be successful, you need to hold the readers’ interest. There is some eye-rolling moments where the characters are very 20th century. And there’s an unnecessary 1980’s moment that only makes one cringe. However, those times are few. For the most part, Gischer’s writing hold up. And the artwork is a solid complement as it displays much of the action where words are not necessary. Essentially the characters are well drawn from both the literal and physical aspects.
Forming a team and having friends you can trust is important. But most of all having an adventure steeped in real places with characters that may have actually existed makes the journey exciting. Just think of the possibilities. After all most of these men and women are known as already old when they arrive in our history books. Franklin practically has one foot in the grave by the time of the Revolutionary War. And while this is not a biography, “Forge” effectively keeps you entertained and wondering what other types of adventures this group would get into.