This week marks the third anniversary of submitting my first comic book review to Comics Buyer's Guide Magazine. CBG is the longest running ongoing magazine about comics; they celebrated their 40th year of publication in April 2011. Before I became a regular contributor for the magazine, I had several letters published in which I related both my family's convention experiences, and our annual Free Comic Book Day adventures, as we visited several local stores during each year's event.
In the second half of 2009, I was contacted by Brent Frankenhoff, the Editor at CBG, about a new feature in the magazine that would be called "Fan Reviews." The purpose of Fan Reviews would be to feature a different reader/subscriber each issue, and give them the opportunity to write a couple comic reviews. Apparently, I did something right with my first few reviews. On November 13, 2009, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an offer from Brent to become an official member of "The Review Crew," CBG's official monthly team that writes comic book, graphic novel, and trade paperback reviews in every issue, and rates each one on a four point scale.
It's hard to believe three years have already passed. During this time, I have had the opportunity to expand my writing skills to graphic novel reviews, press coverage for Heroes Con 2011, and even having the honor of writing the lead cover article for CBG #1685, which featured my interview with Mark Sparacio about his independent comic series Omega Paradox.
For this occasion, I thought I would present my very first review for CBG: Issues# 1-2 of the Black Lightning: Year One mini-series that was released in the first half of 2009. I'd like to think my writing skills have improved since then, especially after I began moving past my comfort zone, and started writing reviews for independent publishers such as Antarctic, Boom Studios and Zenescope.
I've enjoyed writing for CBG, and hope to continue for many years to come.
Black Lightning: Year One #1-2 (of 6), DC, $2.99 each, Color, 32 pgs.Writer: Jen Van Meter; Artist: Cully Hamner
Black Lightning: Year One brings the title character back to its roots, eschewing previous incarnations of the character, like his stint as Secretary of Education under Lex Luthor’s administration, and at the same time provides a fresh look at the character’s background and motivations. High School Teacher and Olympic Gold Medalist Jefferson Pierce, armed with a “Wayne Education Trust Grant,” has moved to a Metropolis borough called Southside (aka “Suicide Slum”) with his wife Lynn and daughter Anissa to continue his mission to, in Lynn’s words, “save the world one school at a time.”
With Jefferson taking on the role of Garfield High’s new Principal, Writer Jen Van Meter expands upon the role of his wife (no longer divorced as in previous series), and family, while updating original cast members like Peter Gambi and Earl Clifford. The first part of this mini-series sets the groundwork for Black Lightning declaring his personal war against the criminal gang called “The 100,” while Issue 2 establishes a promising relationship between Jefferson and Clark Kent.
Van Meter’s pace will keep the reader looking forward to future installments, and Hamner’s art has an engaging quality that is nicely complimented against Laura Martin’s colors. Year One #1-2 does a solid job of honoring the character Tony Isabella created in 1977 while carving out its own path at the same time.