Tag Archives: made in america: the fbi files of malcolm x

Review: Made in America: The FBI Files of Malcolm X #5


When it comes to the mistrust of government, it feels as though right now is when most revolutionaries call “nation time”. It is no longer a small sect of people who don’t trust the government but almost a worldwide feeling. What has gone for years, almost a century, for marginalization has come to ahead. As the narratives surrounding the Black Lives Movement, become louder and even more difficult to ignore, those who came before will tell you nothing is new.

Those in power have always sought to hold onto it and deny those not born into it entry. It becomes more insidious when they are part of your government. One such shadowy figure is J. Edgar Hoover who was a villain in the public eye for many years.  In the fifth issue of Made in America: The FBI Files of Malcolm X, we find out his fight against those who hold court in Black America.

We’re taken to 1920, shortly after an assassination attempt by a disgruntled district attorney’s efforts failed against Marcus Garvey left the assassin dead, and strengthened the UNIA. As his power became immense, so did the FBI’s probe into his organization’s actions, leading Hoover to plant several agents undercover and to bring Garvey up on trumped-up charges. As it would leave Black people in America not only hopeless but listless. By issue’s end, Malcolm X relates how despair sets in shortly after Garvey was disavowed by the Balck community and how the KKK came to rise, in his own backyard.

Overall, an exciting issue which shows how America devalues its Black citizens. The story by Wayne Muhammad is stirring and cerebral. The art by the creative team is astounding. Altogether, an issue which shows the irrational fear of a Black man in power can cause people do crazy things.

Story : Wayne Muhammad Art: Wayne Muhammad, Wayne Powell, Martin Griffiths, and Benjamin Wachenji
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Made in America: The FBI Files of Malcolm X #3

Made in America: The FBI Files of Malcolm X #3

Anyone who has seen Roots can identify with the elements of family and sacrifice. Alex Haley’s family’s journey throughout history is both compelling and heartbreaking.  I was old enough to remember watching the second time the original series aired nationwide, and as difficult as it was to watch the horrors of slavery, the story needed to be told. The story was further expanded, in Roots: The Next Generations, as we found out more about the author himself.

We found about his hardship of growing up without a mother to a father whose job was paramount to his family.  We also found about the struggles he endured in the military and his eventual discovery of his calling as a writer.  What I found most compelling in that miniseries is his interview with Malcolm X for Playboy and subsequent agreement to write his autobiography. In the third issue of Malcolm X: Made In America, Wayne Muhammad dives into that endearing partnership, which would lead to a book that would change lives for years.

We find Malcolm back in Manhattan, answering questions after a sermon about his philosophy on the direction black people in America must take, a sharp change from what other leaders of the time had been spouting., a new attitude that gains him followers. We also find FBI Agent, O’Neill, and his informant, Othello, discussing how they can undermine his efforts, a pursuit that has failed so far. We also meet Haley, who has repeatedly tried to interview Malcolm, whose justified paranoia, loosens enough for Alex to peer in. By the issue’s end, Malcolm realizes his story is bigger than he would ever be while alive, as its impact can change black lives around the world.

Overall, an issue in this very story that shows the complexities of a man whose light was more brilliant than he would ever know. The story by Muhammad is formidable and vast. The art by the creative team is astonishing. Altogether, a chapter in this important hero’s journey which shows how human he really was.

Story: Wayne Muhammad
Art: Wayne Muhammad, Wayne Powell, Lee Townsend, Martin Griffiths, Benjamin Wachenji,
and Comicraft
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Made in America: The FBI Files of Malcolm X #2

Made in America: The FBI Files of Malcolm X #2

The majesty of who Malcolm X was never more present than in the biopic directed by Spike Lee. It must be noted that he has been portrayed in many movies and television shows throughout the years, but none more magnificent than Lee’s opus. The movie brought to life not only why he was such a magnetic personality but also why he was so impactful. The movie most importantly illustrated his evolution.

That inner turmoil is what made his change, so compelling. Denzel Washington’s portrayal in the movie gave viewers someone that everyone could identify with. He showed how his morals no longer aligned with the Nation Of Islam and how his growth reflected how his morals became bigger than the movement he was leading. This was especially when he began his Hajj that started in Egypt. It is a progression that is currently being explored in Godfather Of Harlem. In the second issue of Made in America: The FBI Files of Malcolm X, writer Wayne Muhammad dives into the first time he went overseas, and how his eyes begun to have his eyes opened

We find Malcolm riding in a car with local grassroots politician, and future president of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, who are sharing a laugh between friends and whose association catches the eyes of the FBI.As he tries to bring light to the fact, racism abroad is just as despondent as racism stateside, he finds an ally in Sadat. He also travels to Saudi Arabia, where he meets a Saudi royal, Omar Khan, who advises him of the existence of the Bedouins and their importance to Saudi culture and also how distinct, Elijah Muhammad’s teachings are to the tenets of Islam. By issue’s end, we find Malcolm issuing a sermon that sets him clearly apart from the rest of the Civil Right Movement and would mark him with the firebrand” that he is known for today.

Overall, a thorough dive into who Malcolm X was and how his evolution started long before his trip to Mecca. The story by Muhammad is powerful and immense. The art by the creative team is stunning. Altogether, a story that will keep readers glued to this book, to see a whole different look at this most important hero.

Story: Wayne Muhammad
Art: Wayne Muhammad, Wayne Powell, Lee Townsend, Martin Griffiths, Benjamin Wachenji and Comicraft
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Made in America: The FBI Files of Malcolm X #1

Made in America: The FBI Files of Malcolm X #1

Growing up in an era where many of my peers were finding “knowledge of self,” many of our parents’ bookshelves were the first place we went looking. The music of Public Enemy and X-Clan reverberated in our Walkman on our way to and from school. They would talk about the “Asiatic Man” and the lies every person of color is seemingly force fed. It lead many of us to look at not the library but the books our parents kept for prosperity.

This was where I was introduced to the like of Chancellor Williams and Naim Akbar and countless African American scholars who made it their mission to tell those missing sections of the African diaspora. I remember when I picked up The Autobiography Of Malcolm X. The book had creases throughout as well as bent corners on a significant number of pages. It had the look of a well-read book. His speeches and whatever could be found of his writings stir up such strong emotions in anyone who is lucky enough to listen to him or even read it. In the debut issue from Black Belt Comics, Made In America: The FBI Files Of Malcolm X readers get an inside view of who the man was from those closest to him in a stirring story where he was a person of interest.

We’re taken to a room where the FBI under the guise of the NYPD is trying to turn a young man, Othello Washington into an FBI informant to spy on the Nation Of Islam. Fast forward a year later, and we are taken to  Mosque No.7, the same one as Malcolm X, where a man had been beaten by the police propelling Malcolm X to call the Fruit Of Islam, the NOI’s security force to accompany Malcolm to the very precinct where he is being held to assess his condition. This, of course, is seen as a sign of aggression. It’s one that puts the NYPD on notice and pretty much has the whole city on their feet wondering how one man can have so much power. We fast forward four years later where his presence has garnered nationwide attention including J. Edgar Hoover. As Hoover sits in a war room of his close advisors, he looks to neutralize the civil rights movements as he looks on pictures of Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, and Martin Luther King Jr. Hoover decides the best course of action was to use considerable use of change agents to sever the relationship of Malcolm and Elijah. By issue’s end, Othello gets his orders to infiltrate the inner circle of the Nation Of Islam.

Overall, an excellent debut issue that revisits some key historical events in a seamless narrative. The story by Wayne Muhammad is well developed and well characterized. The art by the creative team is beautiful and vivid. Altogether, a story that depicts Malcolm’s story from multiple viewpoints which gives a greater appreciation of this iconoclast.

Story: Wayne Muhammad
Art: Michael Zaria, Martin Griffiths, Wayne Powell, Lee Townsend, Benjamin Wachenji and John Ross
Story: 10 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy