Spike Lee is one of those directors whose movies stay with you long after viewing them. The first time I saw Do The Right Thing, it made me open my eyes up to how divided even us New Yorkers are. Then I watched School Daze and wanted to go to an HBCU so I could pledge to a fraternity. Then I watched She’s Gotta Have It and found out how pervasive misogyny is when it comes to women’s sexuality is.
Spike Lee’s superb skill for storytelling and his understanding of the human condition make his movies both prestigious and personal.
One of my favorite movies by the prolific director is The Miracle Of Santa Anna. The movie followed a platoon of Black soldiers as they protect a town in World War II. In the excellently told Black Cotton Star, we follow four Black soldiers on a mission to uncover a long-hidden secret.
We are transported to a military base near Dover, Delaware in 1944, right when President Franklin D. Roosevelt, issues an order for the assembling of all Black tank battalions, which gives a much-needed win for the Black soldiers on this base, who face racism daily from White soldiers and their superiors and we are introduced to one particular solider, Linc, whose instincts are second to none. We are also taken to Saint Augustine’s College in North Carolina, where his sister, Johanna, has just found out that their aunt has died, and she has left them her house and everything inside of it, which is where she finds a diary from 1777, belonging to the servant of Betsy Ross, Angela Brown. This is where we find out who Betsy Ross was as well as what kind of woman Angela Brown was, as we soon find out that Angela has placed a back star under the now famous flag to honor the black men and women who have died including her sons. AS soon as Johanna reads her diary, she utilizes the resources at hand, as we soon find out Germany has Betsy Ross’s first flag, and through the help of a senator, has Linc and his friends become a special unit of the Monuments Men. By book’s end, Linc and his friends parachute into enemy territory to recovery America’s first flag.
Overall, it’s an intriguing story that unflinchingly entails the racism of the time and how sometimes the best mysteries are found where you least expected. The story by Yves Sente is entertaining, smart, and well researched. The art by Steve Cuzor is beautiful and the faces he draws are very detailed even having one of the characters have more than a passing resemblance to Sammie Davis Jr. Altogether, it’s an excellent graphic novel that combines a war story with a mystery and a bit of history.
Story: Yves Sente Art: Steve Cuzor
Story: 10 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy