I just checked out issue #3 of Black Mask’s controversial new series “Black” which tells a unique superhero story where only black people have superhuman powers. I’ve been pretty intrigued with the series so far & it’s interesting spin on the superhero genre. The series is produced by an all black team focusing on the continual racial tensions rising in our country. It tackles some tough scenarios where blacks are brutally abused and killed by white people and with all the media focus these days covering the racial divides this book fits in nicely with the current conversation that has been finally addressed and put into the mainstream.
That being said so far each issue has had a very similar theme and the tone of the book is dark and clearly angry. It reminds me a bit of the vibe that the X-men once had as mutants dealt with discrimination from the public who feared their superhuman powers and differences from “normal” humans. Issue #3 continues the story of an evil corporation looking to exploit the the superhuman powers of the teams main character by way of tissue sample. It makes you face some things you might not want to address normally in a comic and it’s likely going to start conversation in the comic book world amongst readers of all skin colors. So far I find it a solid read with some pretty sweet artwork to boot.
Issue #3 was released with an uncensored cover as well that features one of the men on it holding a sign with the “N” word which is sure to raise some eyebrows. There’s some background too from a character introduced in issue #2 as well and again it involves some intense racism by white people as the catalyst for an intense superhuman showdown. We also get a glimpse into the villains of the series, a greedy corporation involved in weapons manufacturing, scientific research and social media manipulation. Much of what’s been presented in the pages of ‘Black’ mirrors many of the problems faced today in America. I’m a bit uncertain as I continue on with the series though what beyond the strong, often shocking approach to racism this series has to really bring to the table.
The story thus far is a bit two dimensional in it’s approach, I’d love to see some of the characters fleshed out with more backstory behind their motivations. It’d be great to see this series blossom & be able to stand on it’s own as a thought provoking read that in the future might not need to solely rely on the divide between races to fuel it’s stories. Perhaps it will reach a point where instead of division it might find a way to strive more for unity, or perhaps even abandon the focus on skin color giving us a whole new direction for these superheroes to follow. In the meantime though it does have an important story that needs to be told or at least addressed. The final message of this story arc will be interesting – I’m sold for the moment & hope as it continues on, doesn’t get too bogged down only in racial tensions. I’m looking forward to see these characters somehow find inner peace and use their superhuman abilities to unite the world, a task these days seems more impossible than it has ever before. Of course these things take time…
I really enjoyed the cover of the upcoming issue #4 as well, we get our new asinine President Trump and some racist white people adapted into a twisted game of Donkey Kong. Trump sucks, but be assured he does not represent the ideals and views of most Americans. Racism is a tough issue to navigate, I only hope we can somehow find a way to begin solve these problems so many americans of color continue to encounter due to the power structures that were put in place many years ago. It’s time to start working together again.