The American Way: Those Above and Those Below #1
I’m coming in late on John Ridley’s The American Way series. After reading the second chapter, Those Above and Those Below, I’m going to need to track down the earlier edition. This was a highly immersive read that sadly felt way too timely despite being set 40 years ago.
Ridley, the creator of American Crime, examines life in 1972. It’s a tumultuous time in America as race relations within the country are at a boiling point and the Vietnam War further drives a wedge in national unity. Jason Fisher is trying to make sense of this new status quo. He operates as a vigilante keeping murders off the streets of Baltimore. But to his fellow black neighbors, he’s nothing more than a sell out working for the man. And he’s definitely not interested in reuniting with his for super powered allies.
Book 1 also looks in on Missy Deveraux, who’s being steered towards a political career to help preserve the sanctity of the South. Amber Eaton is using her powers to systematically sew chaos into the political machine while battling a severe drug addiction.
Georges Jeanty’s art is at its best during Fisher’s action sequences. The more dialogue heavy moments show some softer facial work and loose expressions. Overall, Jeanty’s work is on point and inviting. Nick Filardi’s colors do a nice job of capturing the respective moods of the three subplots. Fisher is cast in a lot of browns and yellows, Deveraux features a brighter color palette and Amber has a lot of blue tones.
I really enjoyed this one. American Way reads like Rising Stars with a big ensemble slowly coming together for a big payoff. I’m hooked after the first issue and ready to see how this story evolves.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10