power lines 1
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!

Created, written, and drawn by Jimmie Robinson, on the surface this seems like the type of book I would like and want to support. The premise is somewhat explained in the opening pages, in that 10,000 yeas ago, after an ice-age, a specific triangle-shaped area of what is now part of California developed, it’s called the Power Line. Who called it that or exactly how worked isn’t explained, all we’re told is that for 200 years the Native Americans who lived in that area used the power line to defend their land. Despite this, the White Man eventually came along and drove the Natives out (you know how that went), and the secret of the Power Line was “lost.”

After this brief history lesson, we open to the modern day, where three teenage Black gangbangers are driving into the small and predominately White town of Benicia, California late at night, to spray paint their gang name on walls. One of young men is our hero, Derrick, also known as “D-Trick.” It’s clear from the initial dialog that although he’s going along with this stuff, Derrick is not a typical street punk like the others. He’s even got plans to go to college. But as the boys spread out it’s Derrick who gets caught by the police. He runs, but they chase him into a corner, and that’s when he suddenly flies straight up into the air. We also see a golden triangle manifest in one of his eyes, enabling him to see very far. The cops freak out and just leave.

While this was happening, one of the other gang bangers broke into a woman’s car and stole her purse. The woman is a Sarah, a 48-year old White woman. She’s a widow who lives with her two sons, including her 24 year old son Kevin, who just got out of the Marines. Sarah reports the robbery to the cops, and Kevin has an app which tracks Sarah’s phone back to Richmond, California, where the boys come from. When the cops see it’s specifically in the very high-crime area known as The Iron Triangle, they say there’s nothing they can do, and leave. Sarah is mad, and the next day she convinces Kevin to drive down to Richmond with her to get the phone back

Sarah and Kevin track the phone to the Martin Luther King Jr. Park, where Derrick and his friends are hanging out. Kevin approaches them and asks for the phone back, but a couple of the boys start to try and fight him, and it’s at that point that Sarah suddenly manifests some kind of powers, apparently telekinesis, which she  uses to defend Kevin. And Derrick recognizes the same energy emanating from her which manifested around him when he flew the night before. He and Sarah make eye contact, and both have golden triangles forming in the eyes, but Sarah takes Karen and rides off before Derrick can talk to her. And that’s where we’re left off.

I know it’s a debut issue, but this book just doesn’t give us all that much to hook the reader, in my opinion. We still don’t know much of anything about the lead-character Derrick, including how her reacted to his powers. We just see him shoot up into the air and then just hover, then the police leave. Next time we see him is next day at the park with his friends. How’d he get down, and back to his friends? Can he still fly? Has he tried? We don’t know. And Sarah is such an over-the-top racist character, spouting a stream of rightwing cliches about race and Black people, and crime and welfare. Even throwing in a line about abortion. And, considering her feelings about Black people, the whole idea of her and her son driving into this dangerous Black neighborhood is  absurd. And I won’t spoil the reasoning of why she insisted on getting that phone back (instead of just having her phone company send her a replacement), but that’s even more absurd. As is the scene of Kevin, who despite being a Marine is drawn to look pretty wimpy, just casually walking up to this group of young gangbangers unarmed to politely ask for them to hand back the phone that they stole. Of course that wasn’t going to go well.

There’s some scenes involving a couple of mysterious figures, a man in a trenchcoat who is following Kevin and Sarah, and a Native American man out in the woods somewhere, who seem to know something about what’s going on, which are supposed to be suspenseful, I suppose but just fall flat to me.

Story-wise, this was just nothing compelling about this issue, at the art which was amateurish and sketchy at best, didn’t help matters. I don’t think I’ll be continuing with this series. Chacebook rating: 2 STARS



available on comixology

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