Black Dynamite #2 (of 4) Review
A cool main character, and a nice tribute to blaxploitation stories past.
A straight-forward tale might make this dull, if the genre's not your bag.
From the big screen to the comics page, Black Dynamite is on the move!
Well, metaphorically speaking anyway, as The Man who has been trying to keep him down has managed to lock Dynamite up in Guantanamo for crimes he didn’t commit. But can any prison hold Black Dynamite for long? Your Major Spoilers review of Black Dynamite #2 awaits!
BLACK DYNAMITE #2
Writer: Brian Ash & Yassir Lester
Penciler: Marcelo Ferreira
Inker: Sal Buscema
Colorist: JM Ringuet
Letterer: Chris Mowry
Editor: John Barber
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Black Dynamite: “He’s a powder-keg of black fury that’s about to EXPLODE! Former CIA agent and ass-kicking soul brother number one… He’s Black Dynamite – and the men behind The Man have him behind bars!”
CAN’T WALK AWAY FROM THE CAT IN THE MIRROR
We open after the events of last issue, with Black Dynamite in an underground bunker, deep under the Guantanamo Bay holding facility… As a fan of the old-school blaxploitation genre (and the comic book adaptations thereof, in the form of ‘Hero For Hire’ and Abe Brown of the Sons Of The Tiger), I really enjoyed issue #1 of Black Dynamite. The most important bit to take away from it, though, was that the creators are playing a fine line between straight-forward story with 70s jive-turkey trappings and a loving parody thereof. This is important in the very first scene, where Dynamite’s cell door opens, and we find that his usual sky-high afro has grown out into a perfectly styled set of thick locks. His captors enter (all wearing outfits with paramilitary/enn-ay-zee-why overtones) and offer him a way out: Come work for them. When their mysterious bald leader enters, Dynamite asks who he thinks he is, only to get an unexpected response: “I guess you can say… I’m The Man.” It’s a moment that could be too ‘on-the-nose’ in the wrong context, but it works here. As Dynamite gets the tour, he finds out that the ones who have imprisoned him have a name. It’s an eleven-letter I-word that rhymes “balloon-and-haughty”, and they have one last open spot for an enforcer with the skills that Black Dynamite possesses.
“TALKIN’ ‘BOUT GETTIN’ MONEY AND SPILLIN’ BLOOD?”
As a fan of 70′s Bronze Age comics, I really enjoy that the creators have gone out of their way to emulate the four-color printing process and the “color dots” that sometimes occurred with that process, and they’ve completed the vintage look by tinting the backgrounds the light tan of old comic book paper. Art-wise, there’s still a lot of cool in the depiction of Dynamite’s world, though the inking of Sal Buscema is less noticeable this time around (which is, to be honest, a shame.) Black Dynamite’s captors make the mistake of believing that he’s a malleable tool, and allow him into their arsenal to show him what he’ll be working with, to predictable (and fatal) effect. Best of all is a moment wherein Dynamite tells one of the jack-booted thugs that he’s free to go, only to have the man ask, “Really?” The answer is a terse “Nope” and a rocket-propelled grenade. There’s a lovely combat sequence with The Man (during which I realized that every ‘bald man in a suit’ in comic books will forever look like Grant Morrison to me) and Black Dynamite barely escapes with the help of an intrepid young lady who want to bring the I-Word conspiracy down. Black Dynamite agrees to help them, for the right price, and ends the issue by befriending a pair of lovely young rebel ladies for a night of bible-reading and gentle conversation, because this is a family website.
THE BOTTOM LINE: SKILLED PASTICHE + A GOOD READ.
As someone who hasn’t seen the Black Dynamite movie, I read this entire book hearing a George Clinton funk bassline and the voice of Kevin Michael Richardson, all of which led to a positive reading experience. The story beats are successful, but might feel a bit simple to some readers, especially if you’re not into the whole retro-70s vibe, and the joke that he’s the baddest of all the bad cats and one bad motha(SHUT YO MOUTH) will probably be the deciding factor for me. If you find that to be fun, as I do, then this may be the book for you. Black Dynamite #2 hits a sweet spot for me, with intriguing modern visuals in a retro style, and a main character that’s both funny and funky, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. I can, indeed, dig that…