Black Dynamite takes a detour from his normal film and TV appearances to star in this one shot comic from Ape Entertainment.
Black Dynamite comes across a dead black man (presumably killed by ‘the man’) who has a branding which claims he is property of Slave Island. Clearly, this requires further investigation and BD is on the case. He makes his way out to Slave Island only to get himself stranded there after an encounter with a shark. The ignorant and foolish slavers assume that Black Dynamite is a slave and they put him into the general population. From here on in its ‘business as usual’ as Dynamite starts his proactive campaign to free the slaves and have his revenge against his racist captors.
The art by Jun Lofamia is amazing and makes you feel like you have jumped right back to the 1970s. The coloring and printing style of this comic is deliberately made to look slightly grainy and of a poor quality to mimic the art of the 70s comic books, which were all printed on low quality paper. It works very well, and helps you to get in that retro mind-set. Even with this retro sheen to it, the comic looks bright and vibrant. The added touch of using Jun Lofamia (an artist who has some history with comic art and was drawing gorgeous pieces of art back in the 70’s) is great, again adding to the retro feel the comic is going for. Below are some pages that really show off the art style…
The script by Brian Ash (The writer of the animated series of Black Dynamite) gives us a great blaxploitation story with Dynamite getting to do what all blaxploitation stars should do; Having the man put him down, kicking some ass, sleeping with women, and ripping his shirt off at every available opportunity. The story flows really well and even though the concept is not overly original, it certainly is a fun read. Bad guy Noah Hicks makes for a pretty poor villain though, his slave owner ways and his plan to have an island open for rich racists that has only black slaves working there is perhaps evil enough, but he does not really pack much of a punch when he is on the page.
The whole story is full of pop culture references. The inescapable island full of slaves has a hint of Enter the Dragon to it, while Black Dynamite himself has more than his fair share of the ‘Shaft’ character in him. The front cover (top) is a great Luke Cage parody, with Dynamite ripping off his bright yellow shirt while his wrist bands are still attached. It is a great image and a nice nod to one of the first major black superheroes. There is only one real thing missing from Black Dynamite: Slave Island however – and that is the humor. The book is deadly serious (aside from a few joke commercials which are very funny). Slavery is hardly a laughing matter, but it seems more than that. Brain Ash seems to want to make this comic book a direct descendant of the comics of the 70s and has made the choice to make this tale humorless. Much like the movie mocked the conventions of the black cinema genre and yet had some fun with it, this book harks back to the gritty comic stories of the 70s about drugs and addiction. This quibble may just be a matter of taste, but one of the things I loved about the movie was the comedy and fans of the film may find this book a little more grim than they were expecting.
At the end of the day this is just another fun piece of Black Dynamite entertainment we get to savor until the animated show comes on back to our screens.