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. Check out the archive to see what books have been spotlighted so far.
Today we look at Radio Free Amerika #2 by B. Robert Bell (creator/writer/penciler), Robert Jeffrey II (co-writer), Don Hillsman II (inker) and Lexington Wolfcraft (colorist)...
The concept of Radio Free Amerika is a clever one. A pirate radio station has seen a good deal of success getting out information to aid the resistance in a future where the United States has mostly collapsed and is occupied by Russia and, to a lesser extent, China.
The opening of the issue introduces us to the main Russian antagonist...
There is a nice turn on the next page where the Russian officer tries a different tact and then goes on an interesting speech about his past life before coming to this "godforsaken" country and explaining how the best way to avoid creating martyrs.
The big drive of the issue, though, is that the remains of the United States military want our protagonist, DJ Moses, to go behind enemy lines to Philadelphia so that he can use his show to coordinate rebel factions in the Northeast for an attack at the enemy homebase in New York City. DJ Moses is not feeling particularly sacrificial, until he is given information about his family back in Philadelphia and he more or less "has" to go on the mission.
DJ Moses is a very well developed character - through him we can fully grasp what it is like to see a country essentially vanish, but with its people still left behind. But at the same time, he is a realistic enough guy in that he is not some "Rah rah! U! S! A!" type guy, but, come on, he's already helping people in his CURRENT gig, so it's not like he's just sitting around being a jerk. He's just not thrilled with the idea of going behind enemy lines, even if it means, in effect, to go home. Bell and Jeffrey have really come up with a very interesting lead here.
Bell and Hillsman do a great job on the artwork in the book, as a good deal of the story rides on the various character's expressions and they sell the heck out of them. Wolfcraft's colors give the book a strong, saturated feel.
This is a very well designed, well-plotted, well-drawn and well-written comic. It's very good. You should try to follow it. You can read more about the comic at its website here, including how to purchase copies.