The Black Racer is a title I’m unfamiliar with, which is one reason why these Jack Kirby tribute issues are so great. Of course Mister Miracle is more familiar than ever, but interesting characters like Black Racer have a chance to shine too and it’s issues like this that could kickstart the characters for future stories amongst new readers.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Shilo Norman has taken up the mantle of Mister Miracle, following the example of Scott Free by cheating death on a daily basis. But when he pushes himself to the limit, the Black Racer comes calling. Now Shilo is literally running from death itself and a cosmic chase leads both target and hunter across the universe. Also featuring a Fourth-World era reprint!
Why does this matter?
Anyone who likes origin stories should give this issue a look. It introduces Black Racer and the unfortunate backstory that lead him into the god business. Reginald Hudlin writes a story that ties into Vietnam in an interesting way with Denys Cowan and Ryan Benjamin on art who give the book a dark tone that suits this character’s killer instinct well.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Even if he can escape this, how can anyone see it?!
With no expectations at all, I ended up enjoying the origin story and interesting twist on New Gods with Black Racer. The character was a normal person–well, almost normal–who did three tours in Vietnam and was very good at killing. After coming back to America he’s wounded and given a second chance as a New God. Meanwhile, Mister Miracle, or a guy who is dressed like him, has the Black Racer after him which turns this entire issue into a chase. At first glance, a character who flies on skis probably isn’t taken too seriously, but the look works when you see him in action. Teleporting through time and space, this issue has them going through a lot of realms which gives the story a godlike angle.
Hudlin writes a solid back story too. The imagery in the Vietnam scenes is haunting and gives the character much more weight. That way when he faces a god later on for judgment you feel for this character even though he was rather cold hearted. The Mister Miracle character has an interesting backstory as well as we learn who he really is and why he’s escaping at all.
The art in this issue is gritty, rough, and grimy when it needs to be, which suits the story. The colors by Jeromy Cox are somewhat subdued which go along with the general tone of the book. The general style goes along with an old school feel (at least as old as the 90’s anyway). The issue is also followed up with a reprint of Jack Kirby stories done in his style, so relish these pages as the old school feel is really hammered home here!
Makes skis look good.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m not exactly sure why the ending goes the way it does. Unless this story is picking up elsewhere there’s no definitive answer as to what happens to Black Racer. Mister Miracle is also strangely left off saying he’s friends with, presumably, the Black Racer, but I don’t know why that would be. The art can be confusing at times which doesn’t help either. Take a scene with a Trump lookalike appearing in an office and then three pages later actually at the event.
Is It Good?
A good origin story wrapped in an exciting chase scene makes this a fun issue for fans looking for something a little different to check out.