Early Review: Black #1 (of 6)

Black #1IT’S HERE! The comic that blazed through Kickstarter during Black History Month 2016. Out in stores September 28, 2016, I was able to get an early read of Black #1 as one of the folks who backed it on Kickstarter. There was lots of hype, and I had very high expectations, and when I got to the end, I was excited for what’s to come and immediately wanted more.

In a world that already hates and fears them – what if only Black people had superpowers. After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it’s safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free.

Co-created by Tim Smith 3 and Kwanza Osajyefo, the first issue feels like a quick read, but that’s primarily because I was so drawn into the action and found myself immersed in this world that starts off so close to ours. Written by Osajyefo, the issue takes very real world issues and puts them front and center, using it as a way to not just set us upon our journey but also remind us the readers that this isn’t just a comic featuring superpowers. This is a politically charged, in every way, story that has something to say on top of its goal of being entertaining.

Race, police brutality, Black Lives Matter, they’re all at the forefront of this issue. Osajyefo does something rather interesting though. Through the use of superpowers the seriousness is shifted a bit, allowing us the reader to settle into the story. Through quick scenery changes and the use of humor, the tenseness of the opening scene is difused a bit. I went from having my heart pumping and being saddened to being caught up in the fantastical elements. It’s a solid mix and one that really takes the reader along a journey, both good and bad.

The art by Jamal Igle is top notch. The characters are all unique in their style, shape, size, there’s no cheap  quick cuts. Every character we meet so far stand out on their own and are realized in their looks. It’s solid art on top of solid storytelling. And in many ways the storytelling is enhanced by the art. Quick location changes through doors for example help create the sense of the fantastical and wonder as we’re drawn into the world. What we’ve seen in live action numerous times, works here too, but more importantly it all transitions seamlessly. Each setting feels like it’s part of the same world and intelligently we’re slowly progressed from ground to fantasy the more doors we step through. There’s a sense of Alice in Wonderland in that way.

The cover by Khary Randolph absolutely needs to be given a shoutout. In its simplicity it approaches almost iconic levels. It immediately lets you know what’s inside and what you’re about to read and at the same time makes such a statement about our world today. This is easily one of the best covers of the year.

The comic delivers on its promise of a politically and socially infused comic that also features superpowers. The first issue is a whirlwind that brings you into the journey in the way a good story should. It’s a ride full of emotion that evokes today’s social ills and problems.

Black #1 will be published by Black Mask Studios and finds its way to shelves in September. Make sure to get to your store to make sure you get a copy and don’t miss out. This one will absolutely be a sell-out hit.

Story: Kwanza Osajyefo Co-creator/Designer: Tim Smith 3 Art: Jamal Igle Cover: Khary Randolph
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy