All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books by African-American creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. A quick note – since this month is so relatively short, I’ll be featuring an extra comic every week, for a total of 32 comics spotlighted! Here is a list of all the comics spotlighted so far!
In this installment we take a look at Owen Ratliff’s Black Salt: The Last Heroes Left #1-2, which was written by Chad Boudreau, drawn by J.C. Grande with colors by Santosh Kumar Rath (the comic was based on characters created by and a plot written by Owen Ratliff and Aries Carmona)…
The short film Black Salt is still in the process of being made (you can help fund it at IndieGoGo now!) but its creator, Owen Ratliff, brought in Boudreau, Grande and Santosh to adapt his work into comics and they do a fine job adapting the concept into comic book form for a story that neatly ties in the Shaolin tradition with modern day battles.
The series opens with the introduction of the evil Kali…
By the end of the issue, Kali’s men have stolen a dangerous biochemical weapon that could alter life as we know it on Earth (imagine a chemical weapon that doesn’t stop killing until it has run out of “Food” to fuel it).
The only man who can stop him is Agent Samuel Tharpe. He grew up in Dengfeng, China. His mother brought him there when a friend of hers invited her there to start a school. The friend’s daughter is Tharpe’s partner and closest ally, Li. She and Tharpe are both trained in the Shaolin ways, although we don’t know yet why an outsider like Tharp would be trusted with such secrets. Whatever the reason, he and Li (and a trained team of agents) have to take down Kali and retrieve the biochemical weapon of mass destruction.
You can tell how this would easily transfer into the film medium, as the idea of an African-American FBI agent partnered with an imposing female Chinese asskicker to take down a rogue Shaolin monk is an easy sell. I hope Ratliff does well with it.
Boudreau does a really nice job of trying to quickly establish characterization in the various heroes and villains in the work, while Grande brings a real dynamic flair to the action sequences (of which there are many – as this is definitely a kinetic project). Santosh does a fine job on the colors.
You can read the entire first issue FREE at the Black Salt website here (you can also buy the later issues there).