Indie Comic Review: Black Star Line #4
Updated: Apr 15, 2020
I once had a discussion on twitter about being political in comics and this person was of the opinion that if a comic book is too political or “preachy” that readers would get mad and that this is bad writing. I’m going to let all you Moon maniacs at home take a very wild guess what this guy was about and what his ideological leanings might be. Now with that in mind, I went and read Advent comics Black Star Line #4: “We the People” the tale of the Alt-United States of America and freedom fighters who are trying to turn it from “Great” to “Best”. But before that…
Our story begins at a maximum-security prison where a group of rebels fighting mechanized death machines to gain access to one of the prisoners. We meet the operatives who are undertaking this mission and they fall into the various character classes that inhabit most band of hero’s’ stories since these particular missions require special skills. After they retrieve their unlikely quarry they steal away to a “city” if you can call it that, as the buildings are barely standing, and the roads are once again made of dirt. The group stands in the ruins of what was once the city of Chicago where they meet the leader of the resistance. From there we get a glimpse of the opposition to the Confederacy a white supremacist governmental system that now has control over what’s left of the USA. And as their name suggests they affect the aesthetic of the antebellum south, with all its stark racism and affected refinement. As the first issue winds up, we learn that their leader holds the protection of his race and the Confederacy over that of any familial connections he may have, this may prove to be his undoing.
I recently reviewed Tony Kittrel’s Blackfire #1 a superhero comic with style and action. This is a very different affair; this comic would give the aforementioned anti-political comics crowd hives as it blatantly discusses the idea of rebellion from a white supremacist nation and I am here for it. Kittrell is pulling no punches in this, he is a black man that takes issue with the current climate if the country and imagines what it will become if it is allowed to persist. There are some great things in this comic like a scene where a character drops a stainless-steel double door fridge on one of the death machines, harkening back to an old interview by rap group The Lox. The heart of this book, however, is how direct Kittrell is about what he feels and how the message of the story might give the reader food for thought. This book is harsh, the N-word is used a bit and while not excessively it does hit hard so be forewarned about that.
Sherard Jackson and Rafael Dantas Gomes do a good job of bringing this story to life, there are some really cool robot designs that appear to be homages to Cain from Robocop also the costume designs for the Resistance soldiers put those of the rebel alliance to shame, this wasn’t a superhero affair so nothing gaudy and grand here, except the Civil war era attire that confederacy wear day-to-day, which actually look very apt for this dystopian race-based society. The design to that effect turn the Confederate motif into something of an American Nazi affair (yes, I know there are American Nazi’s) in the same way that sci-fi constantly imagines the terror of Europe as a consummate big evil, this comic swaps them out for their American counterparts as they were and it adds to the thought-provoking nature of this book.
Go pick up this book especially if you are black or another person of color. That is all.
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This review was written by Ra'Chaun Rogers on behalf of Concept Moon Studios. If you enjoy his comic reviews click here for more!