White Review

By | Monday, December 21, 2020 Leave a Comment
White #1
A few years ago, Kwanza Osajyefo (along with Tim Smith 3 and Jamal Igle) launched a new series called Black. The high concept was: what if super powers were real, but only Black people had them? Last year, they ran a Kickstarter to a follow-up called White, printed issues of which began getting sent out earlier this month.

Within the story, three years have passed since the events of Black. The underground group trying to covertly recruit and train these Black super-powered people has gotten much more public attention, and the US President himself has effectively declared war on them, sending his own son -- armored to the hilt with the latest tech -- to kill them. That's the superficial plot.

But of course that's not the point of the story.

The point is to show what the US government's reaction would be in that ony-Black-people-have-super-powers scenario. The result is truly frightening, not because of all the awful things that are said and done in order to capture/subjugate/destroy these super-humans, but because you can pinpoint specific examples in real life of the exact same things happening. Cops shooting unarmed civilians in their cars with children in the back seat, women "accidentally" walking into the wrong apartment and murdering the residents claiming they're intruders, politicans cynically leveraging every incident to secure and rile up their base, trying to secure greater political power using an overly exaggerated need for national security and protection as a pretense...

And while that all seems like it might be a direct reaction to Trump and his administration, Osajyefo has pointed out elsewhere that "I can’t deny this current White House has provided an endless source of material, but Theodore Mann becoming POTUS is based off panicked societies historically relinquishing power to some figure who claims to have all the answers to restore their sense of identity, safety, etc." This is even directly addressed on the cover to issue #3, which is based off Norman Rockwell's famous "Freedom from Want" Thanksgiving painting, but Khary Randolph's cover features the likes of not only Trump, but Uncle Sam, George Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and a MAGA-hat-wearing Kanye West. The message that this has been going on for generations is clear.

The storytelling is pretty clear, and Igle and inker Juan Castro's artwork is unsurprisingly excellent. Derwin Roberson's tonal "coloring" works very well, too -- often taking a more naturalistic approach leads to everything melding into a sea of grey, but Roberson is still able to keep things pretty distinct while not obviously downplaying backgrounds or highlighting foregrounds.

Black was notable, in large part, for introducing the concept. White follows a very organic extension of that idea, and everyone who reads it should ask themselves, "If this isn't based on Trump's White House specifically, what have I been missing?"
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