This issue opens in a flashback sequence, where it’s two weeks before the Big Bang in Dakota. Augustus and Raqeul have gone into action as Icon and Rocket, and made a name for themselves as they’ve clearned up what was one of the worste neighborhoods in the city. The media doesn’t know what to make of them and are are distrustful, as we see the local law enforcement officials also are. But interviews with people in the neighborhood show that the pair are highly respected and appreciated by the public.
Apparently many people are even aware that Raquel is Rocket, but when the police (or government agents, it’s not always clear who everyone is) come around looking for information on her, nobody wants to snitch on her. We see a couple of young kids recruit Raquel to take a man who’s been abusing their mother (possibly their father or stepfather, but that’s not clear either), which she does. When a couple of detectives show up at the apartment Raquel lives in with her mother, a very tall Black woman named Xiomara Collins suddenly shows up and claims to be Raquel’s attorny, and gets the cops to leave. Raquel has no idea who she is, but Xiomara says she’ll be in touch, so that’s a little mysterious subplot.
We see Augustus in his office (so he is still a lawyer, as he was in the original continuity), where he meets with a woman named Ms. Baker from the National Security Agency. Through their brief talk we learn that the U.S. Government is aware of Augustus’ identity and status as an alien and have been for many years, and that he’s done some kind of work with them in the past. But they’re unhappy about his new public activities and want him to stop, but he dimisses her.
Icon and Rocket go after a big time local drug kingpin named Zeus Capone, but to their surprise Zeus is equipped with some high-tech weapons that enables him to fight back. After a brief fight, Zeus manages to get away, but Icon is left wondering how Zeus got access to that type of technology. We later see Ms. Baker meet with a man who calls himself Bendict Lord, who fills her in on Augustus’ background.
Augustus’ memories and powers didn’t kick in fully until he was adult, but growing up on the planation he was always a rebellious slave who his overseers frquently whipped. When his powers kicked in he used them to free his fellow slaves and kick the masters off of the planation. The masters amassed an armed militia to fight back, and Augustus repelled them too. But he knew they wouldn’t stop so he inspired an army of ex-slaves and they went to Virginia and stormed the Capital building of the Confederacy where Augustus personally murdered Confederate President Jefferson Davis! But it’s at that point that Benidict says he “killed” Augustus. And now Benidict says he’s ready to kill him again.
And that’s where we’re left in the end. And all I can say is WOW! Just the panel showing Augustus holding up Davis’ severed head is by itself worth the price of this comic! I remember this being a criticism of the character back in the day, that he didn’t take an active public role in attempting to end slavery when he could have, but writer Reginald Hudlin is addressing that critique head on. And the extra mysterious subplots regarding Xiomara, Zeus, and the NSA are all intriguing. I know I was a bit disappointed in the first issue, but that’s completly changed with this issue. Hudlin and artist Doug Braithwaite have turned it around, and now I am hyped!
Chacebook rating: FIVE STARS
Categories: MILESTONE COMICS