Andre Payne grew up on the mean streets of south central LA where he learned early on that only the toughest survive. And survival meant joining one of the ruthless gangs that control the streets. Andre never knew his father but when his life of guns and crime catch up with him, his dad finally shows up. And Andre’s about to realize the shocking truth that he’s the modern incarnation of the demigod, Hercules and his father is the powerful Zeus!
This book came out last month, but I don’t follow any of Zenescope’s titles, so it flew under my radar. I just happened to be scrolling through Comixology when this cover caught my eye. Written by Pat Shand (based on a story he developed with Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco), the story opens at a small run-down diner in Compton, with our main character Andre Payne ordering lunch and flirting with the waitress. And then a cop comes in, who turns out to be his half-brother (different fathers) Calvin. The fact that the brothers are different sides of law has obviously put a strain on their relationship, as their dialog is anything but friendly. We learn that Andre is a low-level gangbanger and drug dealer, living with he and Calvin’s mother. Then we cut to L.A. where we get a glimpse of the life of Terrell Taylor, a ruthless gangleader and drug lord who is expanding his operations into Compton. After watching him casually order the murder of man, we see him retire to his bedroom and see that he appears to be more than human (which is all I’ll say about that).
Back in Compton, Andre and his fellow gang members arrive at a secret meeting place to discuss drug sales with one of Taylor’s representatives. But right in the middle of the meeting a squad of police, including Calvin, arrive and a shootout erupts between the gang and the cops. As Andre tries to flee the see he turns to see Calvin get shut multiple times. To Be Continued…
A good first issue. The dialog felt real, I enjoyed Shand’s writing. Also, I must give props to interior artist AC Osorio, who does a good job. Two scenes in particular stood out to me, the opening page focusing on a street sign in Compton, and the a few pages later we get a close-up of a street in L.A., and the stark contrast between poverty and wealthy that Osorio portrays is very effective. And there is much praise for Harvey Tolibao who drew the excellent cover, posted above.
Chacebook rating: FOUR STARS
Categories: INDIE BLACK COMIC-BOOKS