The first time I heard about Chester Himes was not in a bookstore but in the movies. When most kids were only into climbing the high school hierarchy or finding themselves I was a fan of cinema. To give you an idea of how much a cinephile I was, I used to read Premiere magazine religiously when it was in publication strictly because I loved movies and everything about them. One of those movies that I watched in high school was A Rage In Harlem.
The movie revolved around a gangster’s moll (Robin Givens) who flees to Harlem with a trunk of gold and has every greedy hand looking for her. I was completely enthralled with the movie, and that is when I found out that it was based on a book by Chester Himes. That lead me to rest of his books. This story gave me and the rest of its audience a view of the world during that time which involved people that looked like me. In Luke Cage Noir we get a different look at the titular character one that thrives in the Jazz Age.
We meet Luke, shortly after he gets out of jail , as he returns to Harlem , with the world fully aware of his powers, he reaches out to old friend ,Stryker, and gets hired by a rich businessman to find out who killed his wife in Harlem. Which leads Cage to his old nemesis, Tombstone, and to his old moll, Josephine, who faked her ow death and has been in hiding since he went to jail. As he digs deeper into why Josephine went into hiding and who killed the rich man’s wife, he finds out that old cohort and his nemesis have plenty to hide ad were looking to double cross him. By book’s end, the motive behind the rich man’s wife was that her pregnancy would have exposed a deep secret, one that is both shocking and speaks to today’s issues.
Overall, an exciting comic which very much lives in that age. It’s further amplified with the echoes of Walter Mosley’s Devil In A Blue Dress. The story by Mike Benson and Adam Glass is entertaining, action packed and seeping with intrigue. The art by Shawn Martinborough and Tim Bradstreet is captivating. Altogether, a story that the reader will have the reader searching for Donald Goines and Chester Himes in their local bookstore.
Story: Mike Benson and Adam Glass
Art: Shawn Martinborough and Tim Bradstreet
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy