Ebony Warrior #2

Published in “June-July 1993, this issue takes place at least a week after the first issue. Komal has been busy as the Ebony Warrior, hitting the streets every night, attacking criminals. A local news report shows that while White citizens are apprehensive of this new vigilante, he’s getting praised by Black citizens. The writer from the first issue shows up again, this time we get her first name, Illanni, as she arrives at the local community center to talk to Komal, who is shown teaching some local kids about African history, again. We also meet Malcolm, a high school student who works at the center with Komal, and whom Komal has also beeing trying to keep safe from the streets. Back at home Komal’s father confronts him with suspicions of Komal being the Ebony Warrior, and warns him of the danger on the streets, once again alluding to the death of Komal’s mother.

Detective Edwards goes to Alexender Rothschild’s office and confronts him about the gang attack that Edwards faced before, and threatens to bring him down somehow. Then later back at his own apartment, The Ebony Warrior confronts Edwards, and the two of them agree to team up to take down Rothschild. And then later we see that Rothschild has hired some apparently superhuman assassin, a sort of blue-skinned Wolverine-ish character, called The Ravager, to kill The Ebony Warrior.

And that’s the cliffhanger we’re left with. It’s an 18-page story and this time there is no back-up feature, although there is an “ad” for TURNER, last issue’s backup feature (the ad is just a reprint of the final page of the first story), that says “coming soon”, so clearly more was intended. The artist of that tale, Mshindo I., drew the cover for this issue, and a preview shows his cover for Ebony Warrior #3, and those are both well-drawn. But the interior artwork is once again drawn by Steven X Routhier who was just not ready for prime time, at this stage in his life. The weak artwork just kills all the potential this book had. Creator Eric Griffin writes and, as before, the story is fine, but some of his dialog sounds stiff an unnatural, and there are more spelling and punctuation errors that editor Suzanne Little did not catch.

A little more info on Komal’s background is revealed, as I noted in my previous review I expected him to use more high-tech in his crimefighting, and this shows that his helmet does have some stuff built into, including kevlar lining, sound amplification, and night-vision lenses. Nevertheless he is still shown to mostly use his fists when out as the Ebony Warrior. We also get one panel showing a costumed Black woman, carrying two long swords, who calls herself NZINGA. She’s followed The Ravager to Yorktown for some reason.

But that reason is just one more plot point that we’ll never learn as no third issue or more followed. In the letters page, Griffin reveals that he is the “president” of ANIA, while stressing that it’s not really a publisher but more of a collective, where this group of separate Black publishers agree to support each other. Sadly, none of the revealed titles really took off, and I think in each case it’s because the creators just weren’t quite skilled enough to make professional-looking comics yet. Especially since this was the 90’s, where the Image Comics revolution was starting and big flashy art was popular. It took a lot to stand out amongst the glut of new creator-owned comics and publishers at the time.

Still, Ebony Warrior as a character has some potential. If Mr. Griffin or someone could revive it today with the right creative team, who knows what could happen this time?



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