Written by: Kwanza Osajyefo Art by: Jamal Igle Letters by: Dave Sharpe Published by: Black Mask
“In a world that already fears them and hates them what if only black people had superpowers?”
So begins what is arguably one of the most relevant and important comic books of the year. With so many headlines of civilians being gunned down for the color of their skin, the above question ties into present tensions perfectly. Taking this back to comic books though, we start out with an explosive opening section which sets the scene for the central story. There is robbery and the description of the suspects wrongly leads the police to challenge 3 youths who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The tragic murder of the youths is related by a sympathetic police woman.
The story takes a twist in that one of the dead kids turns out to not be quite as dead as his fallen friends. As with anyone who had been hit by a hail of bullets, it opens up certain questions. The primary one being: “how isn’t he dead?” and “damn, I hope that wasn’t his favorite t-shirt” – jokes aside, this passage is our introduction to the concept of superpowered humans. With a minority population, one that is feared and loathed, there are echoes of the X-Men in the vibe. However, this is not the mutants of Westchester.
Our story does not rest on its laurels, quickly expanding the scope of the book into an overarching situation that has many players – on the one side we have the superpowered humans, and against them are the establishment… this could be viewed cynically, like a propaganda piece against the issues prevalent in American society (and beyond) but the book stands up on it’s own. The narrative is fresh and energetic enough to handle to subject matter while maintaining the element of entertainment. The art fizzles along, injecting pace and drama in equal measure.
What has begun here is a solid story, one with meaning, but also with its own narrative. With an opening like this there will hopefully be a big future for the book!