The Outsiders are coming and it begins here as Batman recruits Black Lightning to help with his team.
Detective Comics Vol. 8 On the Outside features issues #982-987 by Bryan Hill, Michael Moreci, Miguel Mendonca, Philippe Briones, Diana Egea, Sebastian Fiumara, Adriano Lucas, Dave Stewart, Sal Cipriano, and Clem Robbins.
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You’ll know all about Zane Pinchblack if you have read Incognegro, the masterful 2008 Vertigo graphic novel by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece. Even if you haven’t (and you totally should) you should still find Incognegro: Renaissance, published this week under the banner of Dark Horse‘s Berger Books imprint, one hundred percent approachable.
Johnson and Pleece both return for a prequel, an origin story of that explains how Zane, a young African American reporter covering the arts scene New York during the Harlem Renaissance, became The Incognegro: an undercover journalist exposing the fetid underbelly of racism at the beginning of the American Century. When a black man is found dead at a party full of wealthy white literati the police are only too happy to label it a suicide. Zane decides to use the fact that he is light skinned enough to pass for white to investigate the truth.
Comparisons between the two series are inevitable but also bit premature. The original Incognegro is a complete piece of work, conceived of and published as a true graphic novel. Renaissance is a serial story being told in monthly chunks. While it has a good beginning it’s hard to say how it will end. Based on what I’ve seen so far however, it is shaping up to be at least as good as its predecessor if not as groundbreaking.
As a James Baldwin Fellow whose first novel was a Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers Selection, Johnson has a much more literary pedigree than other traditional novelists who have found success in comics but he clearly understands the medium just as well. His dialog is pithy and to the point, capable of shifting between divergent points of view so that every character has a distinctive voice. He also knows when to have the characters stop talking and let the art carry the load.
Speaking of the art Pleece is just as good as he was ten years ago. His style is understated but distinctive, capable of capturing a range of emotions in the characters while simultaneously evoking them in the reader. There is just enough abstraction to allow for the greatest possible identification between the reader and the characters but not so much that it descends to the level of a cartoon. Everything moves at a good clip despite the fact that there is no real action to speak of and you’re never left wondering which way to move your eyes. Clem Robbins lettering is smooth and easy to follow as well.
In a day and age when too many creators feel like interchangeable cogs in a corporate machine and too many comics feel like they are mass produced to appeal to the majority of hypothetical readers a book like Incognegro Renaissance is refreshing because it is unique. This is a book that only Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece could have made and one of the best things I’ve read this year in any format.
Story: Mat Johnson Art: Warren Pleece Lettering: Clem Robbins
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy.
Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.
This past weekend, the streets of Seattle were awash with the colors of capes, cowls, tights, and more, as Emerald City Comicon took over the Washington State Convention Center for three days. DC Comics took the opportunity to announce two new series, Trinity of Sin: Pandora and Vertigo Comics‘ Brother Lono, an all-new 8-part miniseries spinning out of the critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling series, 100 Bullets!
In stores this spring, Trinity of Sin: Pandora will shine a solo spotlight on the elusive character Pandora and begin to unravel the details of why she’s such an integral part of DC Comics-The New 52. Written by Ray Fawkes and illustrated by Daniel Sampere, this new series will be complimented by The Phantom Stranger – which will be retitled to Trinity of Sin:The Phantom Stranger when co-writer J.M. DeMatteis takes over full writing duties in June.
Pandora is the mysterious character we saw as the new DC universe formed and a little is known about her. The mysterious protagonist “carries unfathomable guilt and this searing anger with her — guilt because she may very well be responsible for all this suffering, and anger because she thinks she never had a chance to avoid unleashing it. She has reason to believe the game was fixed. So she’s had all the time in the world to crawl through every kind of shame and pain and remorse you can imagine, and she’s come out on the other side of it with a strong, pure sense of purpose. Is that going to lead to more trouble? Yeah, of course it is. But trouble for whom?” That’s what Fawkes gave up about the new series. It’s a new action/horror title in his eyes and a quest for vengeance.
This spring also brings Brother Lono which will reunite the Eisner Award winning creative team of Vertigo Comics’ 100 Bullets – including writer Brian Azzarello, artist Eduardo Risso, colorist Trish Mulvihill, letterer Clem Robbins and cover artist Dave Johnson.
Azzarello says the new series isn’t a continuation of 100 Bullets, nor a sequel. It focuses on one of the characters tha happened to survive. Everyone else in the series will be all new characters. It just follows what Lono has been doing since we last saw him. The series will be very much about what drives him.