Boom Studios 2015
Written by J.G. Jones & Mark Waid
Illustrated by J.G. Jones
Lettered by Deron Bennett
I’m incredibly fascinated by this story. It’s completely a period piece set in the South when the Klan was prominent and coloured folk weren’t liked at all. I’m sure they thought they should still be slaves. With that in mind I don’t mind the words used it’s very much in tone with that era and those people and serves as a harsh reminder how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go where equal rights for everyone are concerned. Also this issue we start to see that he very well is a Black Superman of sorts, an alien from another world, with abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Interesting to say the least.
First again I have to say that J.G.’s painted interiors are breathtaking. If it’s not painted then dayum! Regardless there’s so much life, expression, feeling and emotion just coming off each panel of each page. Sure you get the feel of Mayberry in the town and through the story you get To Kill a Mockingbird and together these two aspects just blow you away. How something so beautiful can be so despicable.
As we see the townsfolk gossip it’s a reminder of small town life till we see the man named Johnson stroll down the street towering about the umbrella’s in height. His firm and heavily muscled body glistening in the rain stops the town in their tracks. That we see from his point of view how he hears these people like they spouting gibberish is fantastic. It adds to that alien mystique as does his heading towards the library to read and absorb the language.
There’s another unique problem happening in this town as well. The levee is unstable and threatening the town and the man Washington has sent, a coloured gentleman, is not welcome to participate. Though educated and respected up North this isn’t the North it’s the South he also finds himself in the precarious situation of finding a way for the Senator to use Mr. Johnson and save the levee from breaking completely kind of selling out his own people. Though I guess from his actions the coloured folks of the South aren’t his people.
There’s so much going on in this issue. So much characterization that it’s truly a wonderful delight to read. Love it or hate it there’s no denying this is an integral part of American History displayed before you all you can do is marvel at the depictions the boys bring us. It’s raw, authentic and strikes a lot nerves but then it should. This is the kind of storytelling that got books banned from schools and libraries. It’s the kind that revolutionizes thinking and reminds you that thus far isn’t far enough. Groundbreaking and innovative in this day and age is hard to do but such stark reality wrapped up in a fictional tale makes this one that should be seen and taught for generations to come.
What is Johnson’s purpose here on Earth, how did he get here and where is he from? We see some clues to his past this issue and it only serves to intrigue the reader all the more. I love that there is something here that could be life altering for the folks in this town, not necessarily for the good either.
Risky and by far the most thought provoking tale told in comics, or anywhere else, today. If we forget the past how can we learn from it? An alien arrives in a time full of hate and mistrust but can one man, even an alien make a difference? Hauntingly beautiful and completely original this is a must have story!