Publisher: Image Comics
Writer / Artist: Jimmie Robinson
Release Date: 30th March, 2016
Here’s the official Image take on what I just read. “A local street hood surviving in a crime-infested ghetto has his life turned around when an ancient magic grants him superhuman powers—except his ability only activates in an upscale white community that may not accept him. Gritty, racially charged street-wise drama!“
The book starts by introducing us to D-Trick, the street hood in question. He, Crab, Wilson and Tight the crew leader are traveling to a white middle class neighbourhood to tag some walls and cause some mischief. It’s when D-Trick is spotted by the cops and as he is running away his power manifests for the first time. I won’t go into too much detail, but it’s when he is in this state that he sees that Tight is using the “tagging” run as a way to distract the neighbourhood while he starts “jacking shit”.
Does it deliver as a gritty, racially charged street-wise drama? Well, it’s certainly racially charged. White middle-class prejudices are readily displayed, particularly by the woman who had her phone stolen by Tight. Unfortunately, she feels like something of a caricature, repeating all of the time-worn bigotry to create a racial juxtaposition.
There also appears to be a realistic use of street patois, and the depiction of the street crew that D-Trick runs with certainly feels gritty and street-wise (I will qualify that statement with, I am white, middle-aged and Scottish, and therefore my understanding of US “street” comes from all things televisual). I will leave it to you to judge for yourself.
Normally in my reviews, I would break down my feelings about the writer then the artist. Sometimes, if the colourist and letterer are particularly good I would wax lyrical about these them too. Well, in Power Lines, Jimmie Robinson (Bomb Queen, Five Weapons, The Empty) does everything. A proper quadruple threat, because each facet of his work is of an impressively high quality His art is clean and well-drawn, with the colours complimenting the work nicely, and his lettering is clear, and well positioned.
Overall, this was a well-paced comic with an interesting concept, revealing just enough to pique your interest and draw you into the next issue. If it manages to escape the racial distortions and exaggerations that can attack equally from the dark streets of the ghetto and the bright wide boulevards of suburbia, then this is a series that could have some serious legs.
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The writer of this piece was: John Wallace
John Tweets from @jmwdaredevil.