Review: The Other History of the DC Universe #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: John Ridley
Artists: Giuseppe Camuncoli and Andrea Cucchi
Colors: Jose Villarrubia
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewer: Tony Farina
Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Ridley (12 Years a Slave, Let It Fall) examines the mythology of the DC Universe in this compelling new miniseries that reframes iconic moments of DC history and charts a previously unexplored sociopolitical thread as seen through the prism of DC Super Heroes who come from traditionally disenfranchised groups.
This unique new series presents its story as prose by Ridley married with beautifully realized illustrations by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Andrea Cucchi. Issue #1 follows the story of Jefferson Pierce, the man who will one day become Black Lightning, as he makes his way from being a young track star to a teacher and, ultimately, to his role as a hero. Future issues focus on characters such as Karen and Mal Duncan, Tatsu Yamashiro, and Renee Montoya.
Extensively researched and masterfully executed, The Other History of the DC Universe promises to be an experience unlike any other. You may think you know the history of the DC Universe…but the truth is far more complex. The Other History of the DC Universe isn’t about saving the world-it’s about having the strength to simply be who you are.
John Ridley is a master storyteller. His foray into the DC Universe is, well, masterful. This 51 page first issue of The Other History of the DC Universe turns comic storytelling on its head. Ridley tells his story, written in boxes, without any dialogue bubbles and Giuseppe Camuncoli and Andrea Cucchi do the work. The panels are uniquely placed around the page in such a way that readers are allowed to see them as museum pieces hanging next to, or in conjunction with, these beautiful descriptions. I really do want to express how beautiful and smart this book is. I was not given any images to share with you and at first I was bugged by that, but now, I see it is a positive because you will have to simply go pick it up. You will, like me, get to spend time in Jefferson’s life, in his shoes, in his family. It is, as the title implies, a history book. If only all history books were told this way, more people would love history.
For people who are looking for traditional comic book storytelling, The Other History of the DC Universe #1 will be a disappointment.
Reading The Other History of the DC Universe # 1 this feels like a guided tour of Jefferson’s life. Black Lightning has been having a bit of a resurgence lately thanks to Cress Williams pitch perfect portrayal of the titular character on the CW, but I grew up loving him. He appeared when I was only 4, and so when I first started reading comics when I was 12, and was reading anything on which I could get my hands, Black Lightening was there for me to capture my imagination in the lore of DC Comics. This story and the set up reminded me of those times back in my childhood trying to piece together everything I could.