Review: Black #5

In the aftermath of his defection from The Project, Kareem comes face-to-face with the harsh consequences of his decision. Juncture and his team enlist Detective Waters’s help in a drastic effort to find the boy before he’s too far gone into the system – but a great threat may have nefarious designs for Kareem’s unique abilities.

In Black #5, it feels everything is finally laid out for us readers to fully understand what’s going on. Up until this point I wasn’t completely sold as to who could be trust and who couldn’t and at the end of this issue, I’m still not 100%, but there’s some interesting twists and turns throughout.

The issue focuses on Kareem and The Project also trying to figure out what happened to him. While the story at its heart isn’t completely unique (a person with great power who uncontrolled could destroy the world) what Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3 bring in the story is how that type of story has a layered meaning when the skin color changes from white to black.

The strongest thing about Black isn’t so much what it’s trying to say or the overall story, but getting the reader to see how the meaning and themes of stories change when the skin color of the main character is changed. To me, that’s the thing I’m most enjoying about it and its getting me to think about the other comics I’m consuming and how a simple change of a character’s skin color can completely change the “meaning” of a scene or series. What Black also does well as shown in this issue is take the real world events and bring them into the comic. The divide in how White America and Back America are treated is brought up as well as coded wording used to dehumanize Black individuals. It’s not overtly in your face, but natural dialogue that adds to the overarching story and its themes.

The art by Jamal Igle is solid delivering black and white action (no pun intended) and the varying characters. There’s little cut and paste here (the only example is generic soldiers in armor) instead every character has a unique look and style of their own that stands out and brings them life. As always, Khary Randolph’s covers draw you in. These are some of the best, most striking covers on the shelves.

The series has had its ups and downs, but the story as a whole is amazing in its themes and what it says. Each issue feels like it adds depth when it comes to that getting the readers to think not just about the current issue, but the past ones as well. Black is an entertaining read and one that challenges the reader to think and explore beyond the page.

Story: Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith 3 Art: Jamal Igle Cover Art: Khary Randolph
Story: 7.85 Art: 7.85 Overall: 7.85 Recommendation: Read