This book is a project spearheaded by the insight and directing light of Ziggy Marley, son of famous musician Bob Marley. Joe Casey and Jim Mahfood have been brought in to make it as professional and entertaining as possible. They do the best they can, they honestly do. This book is enjoyable, somewhat, but it feels like it's caught between being a parable and a hidden truth too scared to just stand up on its own.
This book feels like propaganda. It's out there to tell us that hemp and the marijuana plant are good for us, good for the world, good for everything. They do this by setting a tale of a crashed alien who doesn't have DNA but instead has THC. He is a slacker by day, but when a contact high hits him he's Marijuanaman. First of all, contact highs don't exist except in people's minds. Second of all, it feels like this alien just gets his 'pick me ups' from making others smoke a harmful drug. That just isn't cool, mon.
Casey and Mahfood do their best to make this comic feel like it's a free-for-all jam of ideas and fun. And it is, but it can't get past the directive of the infotainment being forced through the gaps. This book is very pro-marijuana (not saying that's bad) but it will most likely only appeal to current marijuana partakers, or some past dabblers who didn't have any brain melting ill effects. If this is meant to spread the word to a new generation it might just fail to reach outside the already establish demographic. If its aim is to confirm the lifestyles of these people, then it might work. . .
The tale of Marijuanaman fighting against Cash Money, a steroid riddled biker-machine hybrid brought about by the corporate fat cats, to save the near-nirvana fields of Exodus isn't anything jaw dropping, though the creators seed their moments in. The collaboration is sound at all times, be it fights of epic natures or expositional heavy splash pages of drug symbolism and apparent plot mechanics.
The main problem with "Marijuanaman" is Marijuanaman. He just doesn't care unless he's high and even then he just acts; he doesn't feel. The story works to serve the girl up to him, but he barely shows that he actually wants her. He's not a great representative of this drug of choice because he seemingly embodies its worst attributes. He's not a sales pitch and he's not relatable. He's a cipher, at best.
The biggest regret for this comic is that it is so well made. Mahfood makes a phenomenally gorgeous page when he wants to, and he's given room to breathe here, but it's just not enough to get past the actual purpose of this book. Casey is also given enough rope to hang a bunch of money grubbing corporate pigs up by their necks, but it's too obvious. There's no room for subtlety in this book, and never was, so the creators make the smart choice of going all out to push this book to places no one else would have dared.
There might be an underground army of fans for this book, who'll put smudges of munchies on every page, and they'll love it for what they feel it is. Still, that doesn't stop what it is from being a subversively preachy parable about a drug that conveniently eschews the negatives for an all positive approach. The fact it lets you pay a massive HC price for what is ostensibly a one-shot is just the final kick in the shins. "Marijuanaman" is at least better than the drug because it surely won't be habit forming.