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Black Chapter One and Two

BLACK CHAPTER ONE AND TWO

CHAPTER ONE
Story by Kwanza Osajyefo
Artwork by Jamal Igle and Tim Smith 3
Cover by Khary Randolph
Published by Black Mask Studios
Release Date: October 5, 2016

CHAPTER TWO
Story by Kwanza Osajyefo
Artwork by Jamal Igle and Tim Smith 3
Cover by Khary Randolph
Published by Black Mask Studios
Release Date: November 9, 2016

Pulp Nation, Sometimes, it feels like writing about comic books is silly and if I am honest with myself, it probably is, but I do it anyway because it allows me to express myself through things I enjoy. Pop culture may be unimportant in and of itself, but it is also an opportunity for people to express themselves; about their pain and that helps them to cope with the struggles of life.

Black Chapter One and Two is one such work. It tells the story of what would happen if marginalized people—in this case, black people—were the only people to have superpowers. Chapters One and Two follow the story of a young man—Kareem—who finds out he has superpowers when he resurrected shortly after a hail of bullets from an overzealous police officer have killed him. It also follows the police detective—Ellen Waters—trying to find out who he is and where he came from. All the while, Kareem and Ellen, unbeknownst to each other, try to stay one step ahead of a government agency whose objective is to kill or experiment on Kareem.

The Writing

This book is not for everyone. The dialogue will make some people uncomfortable, but that is what makes this story realistic. If you want a nice, safe book, read something else, like Archie. The story feels like an origin story, save the blatant racism at the outset. Having said that, it is a solid story that quickly introduces all the characters and their relationships to one another, even if they are not yet aware that they are connected.

The Artwork

The artwork of Black is well-done and flows wonderfully throughout the first two chapters of this series. Black-and-white might seem simple but there is no hiding anything. Producing a comic in black-and-white is like singing without a backup band; it is a bold decision that can go one of two ways: great or not so great. Jamal Igle and Tim Smith 3 did an excellent job of keeping the pace of  Black moving quickly and smoothly.  

Final Thoughts: Black Chapter One and Two

Black has the potential to tell an all powerful story about how racism is alive and well in our society. Many people will find the story relatable. This story may specifically speak about black people, but it could be about anybody who has ever been discriminated against—Hispanics, LGBT, and women, just to mention a few. On its own, Black is rather familiar in the way that most superhero comics are, but this is not just any comic book. Kwanza Osajyefo has an important story to tell and as a black man in a mostly white industry, he had to make his own path to tell it.

This particular series will no doubt sow division among comic fans and has already created controversy, but division can be healed through open dialogue and a willingness to see another person’s perspective. This can only be possible through some uncomfortable conversations.

Black Chapter 3 will be released December 7, 2016


*Unless otherwise noted, all comics I (Bradley) review are provided by Freakshow Comics in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada* 

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